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Full text of "Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition : during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842"

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1838, 1889, 1840, 1841, 1842. 






VOL. V. 




f Q 





^, s onian 

v c JUN 20 1908 

' Clonal Muse^ 


Vol. I. page 14, second line from top, for " is" read " are." 

I. page 22, second line from bottom, for " ten" read " two." 
I. page 110, sixth line from top, for " Terra" read " Tierra." 
II. page 321, seventh line from top, for " dark" read " obscure." 
II. page 322, top line, for " 3 p. m." read " 3 a. m." 

III. page 407, second line from bottom, for " p. 2" read "p. 1302." 

IV. page 386, fourth line from top, for " Slocum" read " Slacum." 
V. page 288, third line from bottom, for "Bapham" read "Banham." 








VOL. V. B 


ISLAND 37—79 

















VOL. V. C 
















Oatafu Island. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by W. E. Tucker, 3 
Fakaafo oe Bowditch Island. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. 

Smillie, 14 
Ficus ok Banyan Tree. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Rawdon, 

Wright and Hatch, 28 

Utiroa. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by T. House, 54 
Mariapa. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Rawdon, 

Wright and Hatch, 58 

Chief of Eta. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. Paradise, 83 
Astoria. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Rawdon, 

Wright and Hatch, 119 

Pine Forest, Oregon. Sketched by J. Drayton. Engraved by W. E. Tucker, 122 

Shaste Peak. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by G. B. Ellis, 252 
Encampment, Sacramento. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. W. 

Steel, 260 

Manilla. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. A. Rolph, 293 

Manilla Cottage. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. Smillie, 310 

MosauE, Sooloo. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. B. Neagle, 354 

Son of Sultan, Sooloo. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by F. Halpin, 358 

Chinese Temple. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. A. Rolph, 406 
vol. v. d 




Trading, Apia. 
Indian Burial-Place. 


Rice Stacks. 

Sketched by A. T. Agate. 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. 
Sketched by J. Drayton. 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. 

Engraved by E. Gallaudet, 23 
Engraved by J. Smillie, 233 

Engraved by A. W. Graham, 272 
Engraved by J. Smillie, 306 

Engraved by Smillie and 



Union Group Canoe 
Bowditch Islander. 

Bowditch Islanders 
Ellice's Islander. 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 12 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 12 

From the Collection.* Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 18 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 32 

Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 36 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 40 

Costume, Ellice's Group. Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by R. H. Pease, 41 
Drummond's Islander. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 48 

Drummond's Island Warriors. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. 

Gilbert, 50 

Kingsmill Canoe. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 52 

Woman, Drummond's Island. Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by R. S. 

Girl, Peru Island. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 
Makin Islander. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 

Kingsmill Arms. From the Collection.* Engraved by T. H. Mumford, 

Inhabitant of Makin. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by T. H. Mumford, 

Kingsmill Idol. 


Carved Planks. 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 
Drawn by C. Wilkes, U. S. N.f Engraved by 

Drawn by C. Wilkes, U, S. N.f Engraved by R. 

Drawn by H. Eld. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 

Masks, Northwest Indians. From the Collection. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 
Pipes, Northwest Indians. From the Collection. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 
Hats, Northwest Coast. From the Collection. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 











Pounding Acorns. 
Indians Gambling. 
Pack-saddles, &c, 

Caxlapuya Indian. Indian Girl. 
Sacramento Indian. 
Shaste Hut. 
Banca, Manilla. 
Native of Luzon. 
Manilla Costume. 
Negrito Boy. 
Sword, Manilla. 
Hatchet, Manilla. 
Environs, Manilla. 
Saraboa, Manilla. 
Caldera Fort. 
Sooloo Canoe. 
Houses, Soung. 
Riding, Sooloo. 
Sooloo Arms. 
Gentoo Monument. 

Cape of Good Hope, 

Drawn by Dr. Pickering. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 200 

Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 205 

Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 228 
Drawn by C Wilkes, U. S. N.| Engraved by R. S. 

Gilbert, 231 

Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 238 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 241 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 258 

Drawn by A. T. Agate* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 266 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 277 

Drawn by A. T. Agate* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 290 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 31 1 

Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 320 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 326 

From the Collection.* Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 326 

From the Collection.* Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 326 

Drawn by F. D. Stuart. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 332 

Drawn by J. Drayton. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 340 

Drawn by J. Drayton. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 349 

Drawn by J. Drayton. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 353 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 354 

Drawn by J. Drayton.* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 363 

From the Collection. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 390 

Drawn by T. R. Peale.* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 435 

Drawn by A. T. Agate.* Engraved by J. J. Butler, 458 
Drawn by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. Engraved by R. S. 

Gilbert, 467 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 481 


Western Groups, Pacific. Engraved by William Smith, Title Page. 

California. Engraved by Sherman and Smith, 161 

Sooloo Sea. Engraved by Edward Yeager, 343 

Currents and Whaling-Grounds. Engraved by Sherman and Smith, 485 

Those marked with a *, were drawn on the wood by G. Armstrong ; those marked 
with a t> by J. H. Manning. Those not marked, by the Artists of the Expedition. 







184 0. 

As has before been stated, the Peacock and Flying-Fish left Oahu 
on the 2d December, 1840, under instructions which will be found in 
Appendix VIII. , Vol. IV. They steered off to the southward nntil 
they reached the latitude of 5° N., and longitude 160° W., a position 
in which it was thought that an island existed. This position was 
carefully examined, until they were satisfied that there was no land 
at or near the locality. They then steered for Washington Island, 
known on the chart of Arrowsmith as New York Island, which was 
found and surveyed. Its position is in latitude 4° 41' 35" N., and 
longitude 160° 15' 37" W. It is three and a quarter miles long by 
one and a fourth wide, and is entirely covered with cocoa-nut and 
other trees, exhibiting a most luxuriant growth. There is a reef off 
its eastern point, which extends for half a mile. At the western end, 
a coral ledge extends two miles in a northwest-by-west direction, on 
which the water appears much discoloured, but the sea was not seen 
to break upon it, except close to the point of the island. The island is 
elevated about ten feet above the sea. The surf proved too heavy to 
allow of their landing, and the island affords no anchorage. While 


off this island, the current was found setting to the northeast, at the 
rate of twelve miles in the twenty-four hours. 

The positions in this neighbourhood where five islands have been 
reported to exist, were diligently searched for eight days ; but no land 
was seen, and Captain Hudson became satisfied that none but Wash- 
ington Island is to be found. 

On the 20th December, they made Jarvis's Island, in latitude 
0° 22' 33" S., and longitude 159° 54' 11" W. This is a small 
coral island, triangular in shape, a mile and three-fourths in length 
east and west, and a mile wide north and south. It exhibits the 
appearance of a white sand-beach, ten or twelve feet above the sea, 
without a tree or shrub, and but a few patches of grass. The sea 
breaks violently around its shores, but no reef extends to any distance 
from the island, which may be closely approached. A few sea-birds 
were seen about the island. No landing could be attempted, the surf 
being too heavy. Captain Hudson considers this a dangerous island 
for navigators. 

The Peacock and Flying-Fish, for the next fifteen days, were 
eno-ao-ed in searching' for Brooks's Island, Clark's Reef, and shoals: 
but without success, and, after examining the neighbouring sea, left 
the locality, fully satisfied that if any islands or shoals had existed, in 
or near the places assigned to them, they must have been seen. They 
experienced here a current, setting to the westward at the rate of a 
mile an hour. Captain Hudson remarked, that although they had 
experienced generally a current setting to the westward, yet, almost 
invariably, the current-log gave a contrary result. 

In latitude 2° 55' S., longitude 160° 26' W., they found, by the 
dipping-needle, that they had reached the magnetic equator, which 
they followed until they reached longitude 171° W. 

On the 9th January, 1841, they made Enderbury's Island, of the 
Phoenix Group, which has before been spoken of, as seen in the route 
of the Vincennes from the Feejee to the Sandwich Islands. 

On the 11th, they made and surveyed Birnie's Island, which lies 
southwest from Enderbury's, in latitude 3° 34' 15" S., longitude 
171° 33' W. It has an elevation of no more than six feet above 
the sea ; is about one mile long and a quarter of a mile wide, 
trending about northwest and southeast. It is but a strip of coral, 
apparently uplifted, and is exceedingly dangerous for vessels, as it 
cannot be seen from a distance, and a vessel, in thick weather, would 
scarcely have time to avoid it after it was discovered. 


A number of islands and reefs, reported to exist, were searched for 
in this neighbourhood, viz. : Mary Balcout's, Brothers', Robertson's, 
Phoenix, Harper's, and others, laid down, but not named, all of which 
are believed to have no existence whatever. 

On t ie 17th January, they made Hull's Island, which has already 
been described, and was surveyed by the Vincennes. The party of 
Tahitians employed in taking turtles, had left it. Captain Hudson, 
believing this to be Sydney Island, ran off forty-five miles to the 
westward, for Hull's Island, but, of course, saw nothing of it, as it 
lies that distance to the eastward, in the same latitude. 

The position of an island supposed to exist in latitude 5° 23' S., 
and longitude 173° 25' W., was passed, but no signs of land were 
seen. They then ran over the supposed place of Fletcher's Island, 
in latitude 7° 02' S., longitude 173° 22' W., without seeing any shoal, 
island, or reef. 

The effects of the rainy season were now felt in these latitudes, in 
sudden gusts of wind, with torrents of rain, that continued for a few 
hours of the night, and cleared up partially towards sunrise, after 
which the weather continued cloudy throughout the day, with squalls 
visible in various parts of the horizon. Our experience corroborated 
the generally conceived idea that this kind of weather usually occurs 
near small islands ; but that these isolated spots, of such comparatively 
small size, can exert so great an influence in arresting and condensing 
the vapour, is not to me a satisfactory explanation. I am rather 
inclined to believe that it results more from the fact of the high tem- 
perature of the ocean in the neighbourhood, it being here nearly 90°, 
or several degrees greater than that of any other part of the ocean ; 
consequently, the evaporation would go on much more rapidly, 
which, becoming condensed in the higher portion of the atmosphere, 
is again thrown down in copious streams at night. This is parti- 
cularly the case when the trade-winds are interrupted, that would 
otherwise carry off the vapour. As far as respects the interrupting 
or arresting the flow of currents, these islands may exert some influ- 
ence ; but the main cause I should be inclined to impute to the 
high temperature acquired by the water in consequence of there 
being no currents. 

The next day they proceeded to the Duke of York's Island, which 
they made on the 25th, 111 latitude 8° 36' 00" S., longitude 172° 23' 
52" W. This is a lagoon island, of coral formation : its length east 

VOL. V. 2 


and west is three miles, and its width two and a half miles, north and 
south. There is no passage into the lagoon ; the sea breaks on the 
reef with violence; but at high water a boat may pass over without 
difficulty, if proper care is taken. The islets that have been formed 
on the reef are eight or ten feet above the water, and are covered 
with cocoa-nut and pandanus trees. 

As they approached the island, three double canoes were seen 
coming towards the ship, but with great caution ; the mizzen-topsail 
was backed to allow them to come up, which they did, singing and 
shouting, making many gestures, and waving pieces of matting. A 
white flag was waved in return, and various articles exhibited to 
induce them to come alongside, which they at last did; but no 
inducement could prevail on them to come on board. 

The canoes were all double, made of pieces of wood sewed together 
like those of Samoa, and were ornamented in like manner with white 
ovula-shells. The blades of their paddles also resembled those of 
the Samoans, being oblong and slender. The colour and features 
of these people showed that they belonged to the Polynesian race, and 
it was observed there was little or no difference between their appear- 
ance and that of the Samoans, to which dialect their language was 
allied. A Samoan whom they had on board could partially under- 
stand them, but not unfrequently was entirely at a loss ; Mr. Hale, 
however, was enabled to comprehend many of the words. It appeared 
that their refusal to come on board proceeded from the singular ap- 
prehension that the ship would be lifted out of the water, and taken 
up to the sky, from which they believed she had descended. Some 
few of them got as far up as the gangway, one of whom had an 
ulcerated arm, which he desired might be cured. 

In each canoe there were ten men, who wore the maro, which was 
braided like matting. On their head was a piece, made in some 
cases of matting, in others of tortoise-shell, and occasionally this 
ornament resembled an eye-shade, or the front of a cap, to protect 
the face from the sun ; their hair was cut short, and was the same 
in character as that of the Polynesians ; they wore necklaces of shells, 
and small pieces of sponge, and wreaths of pand anus-leaves around 
the neck. Only one of those in the canoes seemed to be a person 
of note : in his shade were stuck several of the tail-feathers of the 
tropic-bird. A plane-iron and some blue beads were seen in their 
possession : this, with their knowledge of trade and desire of carrying 


it on, proved that they had before had intercourse with ships. They 
exhibited great expertness in showing- off their various articles to 
view, and were very eager to sell in order to obtain our articles. 

They had matting, nets, fish-hooks of bone, wooden boxes, paddles, 
and miniature canoes. Whilst the bartering was going on, the ship 
fired a great gun, for the base by sound, with the tender. This 
created much consternation, and they all scrambled into their canoes 
under strong excitement, making a prodigious clamour, seized their 
paddles, and pulled for their island, in great trepidation. 

After the natives had thus made a precipitate retreat, the boats 
were lowered, and a large party proceeded to land at the nearest 
point. The landing was effected on the coral shelf with some 
difficulty, and they found the natives, who had come alongside, ready 
to receive them, with every sign of friendship. They had apparently 
recovered from their alarm, and met the officers before they reached 
the beach, greeting them by rubbing noses and throwing their arms 
around their necks. Their excitement seemed to be so great that it 
was difficult for them to continue still for a moment, distracted by 
the numerous novel things around them. Some of them, however, 
were exceedingly shy, and would not suffer themselves to be ap- 
proached ; others had greater confidence, but at the same time 
showed a respectful fear; while a few put their arms round the 
officers' necks, and exhibited a boldness devoid of dread of any 
kind. The latter urged the party to accompany them to their vil- 
lage. These different states of feeling were associated with a pecu- 
liar mode of singing, which they would continue for some time, 
during which nothing could induce them to stop; this ended, their 
astonishment and excitement would again appear to find relief in 
vociferating with great volubility for several minutes, at the end of 
which they would break out in a hearty laugh, without the least 
apparent cause. These islanders are tattooed on the cheeks, breast, 
legs, and above the hips. 

A part of these marks consisted of two rows of lines running from 
the tip of the ear across the cheek and nose, with small crosses 
between. There were others passed around the body below the 
chest ; many marks resembling fish were on the arms, and a sort of 
triangle, together with figures of turtles, on the breast. On the legs 
were many concentric rings. The markings were distinct and 

Their village, to which our party went, was on the inner or lagoon 


side of the island, and contained about thirty houses, which were 
raised about a foot above the surrounding earth : they were of oblong 
shape, about fifteen feet high to the ridge-pole, sloping gradually, and 
of a convex form to within two or three feet of the ground ; the roof 
was supported on high posts, whilst the lower part rested on short 
ones, three feet within the eaves, having a strong piece extending 
around, on which the rafters are tied; the gable-ends were over- 
topped by the roof, and seemed necessary to protect them from the 
weather. Below the eaves, the whole was open from the ground to 
the roof. The thatching, made of pandanus-leaves, was of great 
thickness, and put on loosely. The interior of the houses was very 
clean, but there was no furniture except a few gourds, and a reclining 
stool, cut from a solid block of wood, having two legs at one end, 
which inclined it at an angle of nearly forty-five degrees : to show 
the manner of lying in it, they imitated a careless and comfortable 
lounge, which they evidently considered a luxury. It was conjec- 
tured that they had removed their various household utensils to a 
secret place. 

The most remarkable constructions of the islanders near the village, 
were three small quays, five or six feet wide, and two feet above the 
water, forming slips about ten feet wide : at the end of each of these 
was a small house, built of pandanus-leaves, partly on poles in the 
water. These appeared to be places for securing their canoes, and 
for the purpose of keeping their fishing implements. Three canoes 
were seen lying a short distance off in the lagoon, filled with the 
women and children. This was a precaution adopted to enable them 
to escape if it became necessary ; yet they did not seem to apprehend 
any hostility. No kind of war implements was observed among them, 
and their bodies exhibited no marks of strife with each other. 

There was an open space in the town, covered with coral-sand 
and pebbles, which they called malse. When they were asked 
by Mr. Hale for their "fale atua," (house of God,) they pointed to 
a place at a distance, and evidently understood the meaning of the 

There was no cultivation whatever, and their only food appeared 
to be the cocoa-nut and fish. There were no animals seen, no fowls, 
dogs, or hogs. Captain Hudson left there a few young pigs, of which 
the natives took charge, but they did not evince that surprise which 
was expected at the sight of an unknown animal. 

They have no water on the island, and the supply is wholly 


obtained from excavations made in the body of the cocoa-nut trees, 
two feet from the ground. These trees are all dug out on the lee 
side, towards which all are more or less inclined. These excavations 
are capable of containing five or six gallons of water. 

Our gentlemen were under the impression that they saw the whole 
population, and counted forty male adults, which, on the supposition 
that they were one-third, would make the population one hundred 
and twenty. 

This island was discovered by Byron, in 1765, who reported it as 
destitute of inhabitants. The natives gave the name of their island 
as Oatafu, and acknowledged themselves the subjects of a chief who 
lived on a neighbouring island, called Fakaafo, pointing to a southerly 
direction. With this exception, they did not appear to possess the 
knowledge of any other islands but their own. 

Their idea was that the ship had come from the sky, and that the 
officers were divinities ; the question whether they were so was con- 
stantly repeated, and although every endeavour was made to convince 
them to the contrary, yet the disclaimer produced no effect. Their 
continual singing and chaunting was supposed to arise from the 
desire to propitiate us. 

When a number of the officers had collected in the malse, the two 
oldest of the men, seating themselves on the ground, with two short 
sticks, commenced chaunting and drumming on a large stick, whilst 
another wrapped a net about his middle, and began to dance : the 
more they were interrupted, the more vigorous became their efforts, 
both in the song and dance. 

These islanders were thought by all to be a docile, harmless people, 
although they possessed, in common with all other savages, a strong 
propensity to theft. Many of the officers lost small articles out of 
their pockets, which were no doubt taken at the time of their affec- 
tionate embraces. Just as they were leaving the island, a hatchet 
was missed, which was supposed to be stolen ; on the loss being 
made known to them, a prodigious excitement ensued. The old 
chief, or he who had been pointed out as the " alike," jumped up with 
much energy, and made a speech with a stentorian voice and exces- 
sive volubility, while his whole frame was agitated. The natives 
immediately separated in all directions, and in a short time the 
missing hatchet was produced. 

They had no knowledge of the use of tobacco, so general among 

VOL. V. 3 


the other islanders of Polynesia, and when shown some, they made 
signs to know if it was edible. On being given a cigar, they exa- 
mined it very closely, and being induced to light it, attempted to 
imitate the motions of smoking ; hut instead of drawing in the breath 
to ignite it, pursued a directly opposite course, and very soon returned 
it, with some agitation, apparently rejoiced to get rid of it. The 
natives accompanied them in a body to the beach, and saw them 
safely into the boats. 

Dip and intensity observations were made here ; they likewise had 
a perpendicular cast of the lead, half a mile from the shore, with 
three hundred fathoms ; but they found no bottom. 

Nineteen varieties of trees were found, some of which were of a 
large growth; among which were seen large Tournefortia, covered 
with Asplenium and Polypodium, species of ferns, which gave it 
quite a venerable appearance ; a pandanus more than thirty feet high. 
A tree, believed to be a Pisonia, was more than twenty feet in circum- 
ference at its base, and about forty feet high. A beautiful species 
of ficus, the Cape jessamine of Tahiti, and the nono, used as a dye, 
were both growing wild. 

Some tame oceanic pigeons, plovers, and a noddy, were seen about 
their town, with numerous water-fowl, but no land-birds. Rats were 
numenras, as was also a large black lizard. 

On the 26th, the vessels sailed for the Duke of Clarence Island, 
but, owing to the unfavourable state of the weather, they did not 
reach it until the 28th, though only a few miles distant, when it was 
surveyed, and found to be seven miles and two-tenths long, in a north 
and south direction, and five miles wide from east to west. It is of a 
triangular shape, with the apex to the north. It has a lagoon similar 
to that of the Duke of York's, with islets in it; the northwest side is 
a bare reef, or wash, on which the sea breaks heavily. After the 
survey was effected, Captain Hudson found it impossible to land to 
hold communication with the natives, but has no doubt of its being 
inhabited, as it was spoken of by the inhabitants of the Duke of 
York's Island as belonging to the same people, and was called by 
them Nukunono. No opening was perceived into the lagoon, and 
there were many cocoa-nut and other trees on the island. 

On the 28th, in the afternoon, they bore away for the purpose of 
looking for the islands of Gente Hermosas of Quires. During the 
night the weather was squally, with heavy rain, accompanied with 


thunder and lightning ; and it is a source of regret, that at this time 
the rain-gauge was out of repair, and no observations were made as 
to the quantity which fell, or its temperature. 

At 2 h 30 m a. m., whilst Lieutenant Emmons had the deck, the 
night being very dark, and the weather clear, he heard the distant 
sound of surf; soon afterwards the wind changed, when land was 
discovered close to the vessel, bearing northeast. They made signal 
to the tender, and hove-to till daylight, when the largest island they 
had yet seen was within two miles of the ship. 

This proved to be a new discovery, as it was not to be found on 
any chart. The island, which I have named Bowditch, agreeably to 
the wish of Captain Hudson, was of coral formation, and its shape is 
that of a triangle, with the apex to the south. From north to south 
it is eight miles long, and in width, from its west point, four miles. 
On its southwest and north points the land is of considerable eleva- 
tion, and the more elevated parts are connected by an extensive coral 
reef, that is awash. On the east side the land is more continuous, 
and on three parts there are extensive groves of cocoa-nut trees and 
shrubbery. There is no entrance for a vessel to the lagoon, which, 
from the appearance of the water, has but little depth. 

At daylight, eighteen canoes, with four or five persons in each, were 
seen off the end of the island, apparently on a fishing excursion : they 
disregarded the vessels altogether, and continued their occupation, 
without taking any notice, and as if unwilling to lose the opportunity 
of taking the fish. The fish seemed to be extremely numerous, if the 
actions of the birds were to be taken as an indication, for immense 
numbers of them were seen darting into and rising from the sea every 

As the natives refused to come near the ship, Captain Hudson 
ordered two boats to be sent to open a communication with them. 
They were taking fish after the manner of the Samoans, by trolling a 
line, it being fastened by a pole eight or ten feet long to the stern of 
the canoes, and elevated above the surface to a sufficient height to 
allow the fish-hook, which was made of shell or bone, to drag along 
the surface of the water; as their canoes were propelled, the fish, 
attracted by the glistening of the hook, eagerly caught at it, and 
were taken. 

The canoes were single, with out-riggers, and resembled those of 
Samoa, being partly decked over the fore part, and with the same 
small protuberances or pegs, to which were fastened the ovula-shell. 



No sails were observed, but a small model of a canoe, purchased 
among the curiosities, had the usual triangular sail. 


The natives were at first very shy of the boats ; but the Hawaiians 
who were in them, soon induced them to approach, and enter into 
trade, and finally enticed them alongside the ships. On coming 
near, they began a song or chaunt, holding up their paddles and 
mats, and shouting " kafilou tamatau." They resembled the natives 
of Oatafu, or Duke of York's Island, wore the same kind of mats, 
eye-shades, and ornaments, and some were tattooed after the same 
manner. Some, however, were tattooed in a different style, being 
ornamented with a variety of arrows on the forehead and cheeks. 
They were all finely formed, and manly in appearance, with pleasing 
countenances that expressed good-nature. 

The annexed wood-cut is from an accurate sketch by Mr. Agate, 
and exhibits the tattooing above spoken of. 


They seemed eager enough for trade, and soon disposed of all they 
had to exchange; a few presents were also made them, but all induce- 
ments failed to entice them on board. They appeared very cheerful, 
laughing heartily at any thing that struck them as ridiculous. 


There was a necessity now for beginning the duties of the survey, 
and guns were to be fired for bases by sound. Attempts were made 
before the firing, to explain to them what was to be done, in hopes 
their fears might not be excited, and thus cause their desertion, as at 
the Duke of York's Island ; but the moment the first gun was fired, 
they hurried off for a short distance, to hold a parley. The second 
gun caused them to start at full speed for the land, and they did not 
slacken their efforts until they reached it. 

Three boats, with several of the officers, landed on the southwest 
point of the island, whither four or five canoes accompanied them, 
the confidence of the natives being restored. When they came near 
the reef, the surf was found to be breaking heavily on it, which 
caused them to hesitate in attempting to land at that place ; but, after 
looking for some distance, and finding no better place, they deter- 
mined to try it. The natives, in the mean time, had been passing 
through the surf, by placing their canoes on the heaviest roller, and, 
paddling with great energy, reached the beach upon it, without diffi- 

Following their example, our boats landed with the same ease and 

The islet on which they now were was covered with cocoa-nut 
trees, but there were no houses upon it. They called it Fakaafo, 
which was the same as the natives of Oatafu had designated as the 
island where their great chief lived. Oatafu was well known here, as 
well as the Duke of Clarence's Island, which they called Nukunono. 
It was observed that they spoke of their own island as the Fanua 
Loa, or the Great Land ; and it, with the two islands just referred 
to, were all the lands of which they had any knowledge. 

The only person our officers saw who appeared to have any 
authority, was an old man, whom they called Taufaiga, and desig- 
nated as a priest, and who was considered fakatapa (sacred). The 
name they gave to the god of the island was Tui-tokelau, whose 
residence was pointed out as being in the skies. Mr. Hale, by his 
questions, elicited that they called their great deity by the same 
name, with the customary addition of Tagaloa ilaya-i-te-layi — Tagaloa 
above in the heavens. They ascribed our origin to the same place, 
and could not be convinced that we were not deities, but only men 
(tagata lava). 

Near the south end of the island was a small lagoon of salt water. 

VOL. V. 4 


Towards sunset, the natives gave them notice that it was time for 
them to return to their town, upon which our party embarked and 
joined the ship. 

During the night, they had heavy rains, and stood on and off 
the island. In the morning, Captain Hudson landed, opposite the 
islet on which the town was situated, with four boats. The surf was 
breaking heavily, and they were well drenched, being obliged to wade 
over the reef, which was from knee to waist deep. 

The king and about two hundred natives awaited their approach. 
The former was seated in advance, with about twenty old men ; the 
rest stood behind, and all began to gesticulate and chaunt, as if 
under great excitement. They pointed to the sun and howled, 
spreading mats, and making motions for our party to be seated. Our 
gentlemen complied with their request, and the king, after embracing 
Captain Hudson, rubbed noses, pointed to the sun, howled, moaned, 
rubbed his nose over the captain's chin, hugged him again and 
again, put a mat around his waist, securing it with a cord of human 
hair, repeating the rubbing of noses, and howled for twenty minutes. 
The same ceremony was gone through with by minor chiefs, with 
the other officers. 

The king, whose name was Taupe, was somewhat advanced in 
years, with a grave countenance. He had a sickly look, and his legs 
were much affected with the elephantiasis. Notwithstanding this, 
however, he would have been deemed a fine-looking man. He was 
thought to be under much greater agitation from fear than any of his 
subjects. The moment Captain Hudson attempted to leave his side, he 
would set up a most piteous howl and point to the men. He continued 
to repeat, in a tremulous and agitated tone, "Nopo kilalo, mataku au" 
(sit down, I am afraid). A continued desire was manifested that our 
people should depart, and take the presents they had offered. 

Every endeavour was made to quiet their fears, and to convince 
them that our people did not come from the sun; but nearly an hour 
elapsed before they were tranquillized. After this, they became 
more familiar ; but their manners continued to evince the same mix- 
ture of timidity and friendliness that had been observed at Oatafu. 
They were induced to trade after they were quieted, when fish-hooks 
and knives were in great request, for which mats, fishing imple- 
ments, model canoes, two or three feet long, wooden boxes with 
covers, cut out of the solid wood, and cocoa-nuts, were given. 


When the king had been presented with a variety of articles, he 
gave in return a mat and maro, after which he made a move towards 
his town, a few hundred yards distant, whither the whole party fol- 
lowed him. It was with difficulty that he could walk, in doing which 
he required the aid of an assistant. He at first objected to their accom- 
panying him, saying it was "e sa" (sacred). The whole islet was 
covered with a grove of cocoa-nut trees, under whose shade about 
sixty houses were scattered, only a few yards from each other, 
and resembling those described at Oatafu, though better built and 

The most remarkable building was that which they said was their 
" tui-tokelau" (house of their god). This stood in the centre, and 
was of an oblong shape, fifty by thirty-five feet, and about twenty feet 
in height. The roof was supported in the centre by three posts, two 
feet in diameter, while under the place on which the rafters rested, 
were many short and small posts : all were very roughly hewn, and 
placed only a few feet asunder. The roof was concave, and extended 
beyond the posts at the eaves ; the thatching was tied together, 
which, hanging down, resembled, at a distance, the curtain of a tent 
or marquee. All the sides were open, excepting a small railing, about 
fifteen inches high, around the foundation, which allowed the free 
passage of the air through. It was one of the most beautiful and 
pleasant spots, and is well represented in the opposite plate, from a 
drawing by Mr. Agate. They were at first unwilling that the officers 
should enter ; but upon the explanation, that what was taboo for them, 
would not be so for the Papalangis, they were admitted by an old 
priest, but not without reluctance. 

The edifice contained but little furniture. Around the eaves a 
row of mother-of-pearl shells was suspended, giving the appearance 
of a scolloped curtain. The whole was covered with mats. In the 
centre, around the largest pillar, a great number of enormous benches, 
or tables, were piled, which were carved out of the solid wood, and 
being of rude workmanship, were clumsy and ill-shaped. In all pro- 
bability these were the reclining stools before spoken of. The natives 
termed them "the seats of their god." Their gods, or idols, — tui- 
tokelau, — were placed on the outside, near by. The largest of these 
was fourteen feet high and eighteen inches in diameter. This was 
covered or enveloped in mats, and over all a narrow one was passed, 
shawl-fashion, and tied in a knot in front, with the ends hanging 
down. The smaller idol was of stone, and four feet high, but only 


partially covered with mats. About ten feet in front of the idols was 
one of the hewn tables, which was hollowed out : it was four feet 
long by three broad, and the same in height. Near these was seen 
the barrel of a small windlass, which the natives said had belonged 
to a small vessel formerly wrecked on the island, and that only 
two of the men had been saved, who had since died. This was not 
the only relic of the disaster, for some of the beams were also seen. 
Mr. Hale made many inquiries relative to this matter, and they gave 
him the names of the men who were saved. He surmises, from these 
having Polynesian terminations, that it might have been a vessel with 
Sandwich Islanders on board, and he is somewhat strengthened in 
this opinion by finding the word "debolo" in use among them. The 
word had puzzled him at first, for the Sandwich Islanders had adopted 
it to express " the devil." There it was used as " o debolo," and sig- 
nified an ancient god, Atua tafito. 

In the malse, around the largest pillar, were many spears and 
clubs, all much battered and worn, which had likewise been picked 
up from the sea, and resembled those of Feejee and Samoa. These 
were called "la-kau-tau" (wood of war); but they had no specific 
name for the different kinds. These were the only warlike weapons 
seen among them. A number of war-conchs were on the tables. 

The well which supplied water was a short distance from the 
males. It was walled up, was about fifteen feet deep, and surrounded 
on the top by a high fence. The water was about two feet deep, 
and great care was taken to preserve it clean and pure. 

The part of the town facing the sea was built up with a very 
good stone wall ; along this were several small houses, while on the 
shore of the lagoon was a row of canoe-houses, some fifty in number. 
The canoes were some distance off in the lagoon, filled with the 
women and children. 

Although they showed a decided disapprobation of the presence 
of our officers, yet they made no opposition to their examining the 
village. In some of the houses were found children and a few women; 
the old queen was discovered, hid under a mat, who, when found, was 
in great terror. In contrast with the old queen, the younger females 
appeared very good-looking and well shaped. 

The natives all showed a constant anxiety for the departure of our 
people, frequently repeating expressions which were interpreted that 
they were tired of their company ; but all this time they carried on 
an active trade, and exhibited their thieving disposition very strongly. 


The officers lost many small articles, which were pilfered very 
dexterously; and if any things were dropped or suffered to be out of 
sight a moment, they were instantly concealed or made away with. 
Mr. Rich, when near the boat, gave his botanical collecting-case to a 
native to hold, who, the moment his back was turned, ran off with it ; 
and it required a hard chase to overtake him. 

In one part of the village, two drums were seen : one of these was 
a trough, resembling those at the Feejee and Tonga Islands ; the other 
was a cylindrical frame, set upright in the ground, with a piece of 
shark's skin drawn tightly over it, like those of Hawaii : the latter was 
beaten like our drums, with two sticks, and was intended as an accom- 
paniment to dancing ; for when it was beaten, the natives began that 
exercise. The motions of the dance were similar to those observed in 
other parts of Polynesia, only more varied. 

The younger portion of the community, of both sexes, were naked; 
while those more advanced in life wore the maro, which in the men 
was from six to eighteen inches wide. Some of these were very fine 
in texture, and bordered with fringe. The maro worn by the elder 
and it was presumed married women, consisted of a great number of 
leaves tied to a cord, and then slit into fine threads. These were 
kept well oiled and perfectly pliable, and formed a huge apron, 
resembling a bundle of straw tied around the loins : it was almost 
impossible to conceive a more unwieldy or ridiculous dress; its weight 
was about fifty pounds, which may give some idea of its size ; if it 
were rolled up, it would never have been recognised as a part of 
female attire. 

Their ornaments consisted of necklaces of shells and bone, ear- 
rings of the same, and false curls in front. It was observed, that 
their hair appeared to be thinner than that of the other islanders, 
though their heads did not approach to baldness. 

In manufactures they seemed quite apt. They had two kinds of 
mats, the one about four feet square for sleeping, the other for 
clothing : they evinced some ingenuity in these, as well as in their 
fish-hooks, which were made of bone, shark's teeth, and shell ; many 
of these were small and remarkably neat. They also had saws and 
files, formed of shark's skin stretched on sticks, which in their hands 
were quite effective in wearing away the soft wood, &c. The con- 
struction of their drill was ingenious; it was pointed by a hard 
stone, and the mode of using it and producing the circular motion 
can be more readily comprehended by reference to the wood-cut. 



The motion is communicated by a vertical movement of the hand, 

and when practised by a native, is exceed- 
ingly rapid. Their boxes or buckets are 
of various sizes, from the capacity of a gill 
to that of a gallon ; they are cut out of the 
solid wood, and the top or lid is fitted in 
a neat manner. These are used to keep 
their fish-hooks and other small articles in, 
to preserve them from the wet. Like ,the 
natives of Oatafu, they do not appear to 
cultivate any thing, but derive their food 
from the cocoa-nut and pandanus, which 
\ are the only edible vegetable articles that 
grow on the island ; but the far greater 
portion of their food is drawn from the sea. 
That they have sufficient nutriment, is amply proved by their robust 
and healthy looks. 

The population of this island is supposed to be about six hundred 
souls, most of whom dwell in the town. Those that were seen on 
Oatafu are supposed to belong to this island also, and it will be 
remembered that their canoes were there double ones, while all those 
seen at Bowditch Island were single. Throughout all Polynesia the 
double canoe is used in navigating from island to island. This will 
reconcile the fact that Oatafu, or Duke of York Island, when first 
visited, was found uninhabited, as is particularly mentioned by its 

After a stay of three hours at their town, Captain Hudson yielded 
to the pressing desire of the natives to get rid of him, and ordered all 
the officers and men to the boats. The natives showed their delight 
at this move, and were very assiduous in assisting their visiters to 
embark. The confusion of embarkation was taken advantage of by 
them, and numerous small articles were stolen, which were not missed 
till afterwards. Many of these thefts were committed in the most 
barefaced manner, and it is believed that they would have gone to 
much greater lengths, if they had not been restrained by their fears. 

Along the coral reef were walls of coral, in the form of piers, eight 
or ten feet high, and from twenty-five to thirty feet long. 

There was no sign of places for cooking, nor any appearance of fire, 
and it is believed that all their provisions are eaten raw. What 
strengthened this opinion, was the alarm the natives felt when they 


saw the sparks emanating from the flint and steel, and the emission 
of smoke from the mouths of those who were smoking cigars. 

Dip and intensity observations were made here. 

Upon reaching the ship, Captain Hudson determined to bear away 
for the situation of the island of the Gente Hermosas of Quiros. 

They had reached the vicinity on the 31st of January, where they 
searched until the following day, when they made land, but were 
unable to finish the survey of the island for four days. Boats were 
sent to effect a landing, but the surf was found to be too heavy, and 
one that approached too near was caught in the rollers and thrown 
on the coral reef, fortunately without harm to any of the crew ; the 
boat, however, was somewhat injured. 

The position of this island is in longitude 170° 55' 15" W., and lati- 
tude 11° 05' 00" S. ; it is of coral formation, but has no lagoon; it is 
nearly round, and four miles and three-tenths in circumference; it 
may be classed with the high coral islands, and is elevated from 
fifteen to twenty-five feet above the level of the sea ; it is well wooded 
with cocoa-nuts, pandanus, and other trees and shrubs. The sea 
breaks constantly on all parts, and no safe landing exists. Its situa- 
tion differs from the position laid down for that of Quiros. Captain 
Hudson therefore called it Swain's Island, after the master of a 
whaler, who had informed him of its existence. When within a 
mile of the island, no bottom could be had with two hundred fathoms 
of line. This isolated spot gave no other evidence of its ever having 
been inhabited, except the groves of cocoa-nut trees. Pigeons, similar 
to those seen at the Samoan Group, were observed. 

After securing observations for its position, the vessels bore away 
for Upolu, with the westerly breeze, which had continued for the last 
eight days, and been almost constant. This will serve to show that 
there is no real difficulty in the population of Polynesia migrating 
from west to east during this season of the year, when the trade-winds 
are almost entirely interrupted. 

Until the 4th of February they had bad weather, and heavy squalls 
accompanied with thunder and lightning. 

On the 5th of February, the mountains of Savaii were dimly 
visible, although they were between fifty and sixty miles off. On 
the 6th, they were off the island of Upolu, when Captain Hudson, 
to lose no time, despatched the tender, with two boats, to survey the 
south side of the island, while the launch, with the first cutter, was 


to be sent round its east end, in order to complete the work in the 
least possible time. In the afternoon, the Peacock anchored in Apia 

Many minor things at Apia had changed, after an absence of fifteen 
months. Much of this was to be imputed to the different season of 
the year, it being now the rainy season; and from this cause, the 
luxuriance of growth had enveloped every thing in a sprightly green, 
that embosomed the village and white walls of the new church, of 
which the foundation was just laid at our former visit. 

The day of their arrival was the Samoan Sabbath, and all was 
quiet and peaceful. Some of the officers landed in the afternoon, 
and were greeted by many of their old friends. 

The improvements, beside the church, were a store and dwelling- 
house, built by Mr. Cunningham, Her Britannic Majesty's Vice- 
Consul, who is likewise about erecting a saw-mill. The church is a 
very creditable building, and quite neat in its appearance, with walls 
of stone, and roofed after the native fashion. Near by are deposited 
the bones of the lamented missionary, Mr. Williams, and of Mr. 
Harris, which were brought here from Erromango by H. B. M. sloop 
Favourite, Captain Croker, who himself has since fallen in his en- 
deavours to forward the missionary cause. 

The missionary brig Camden, which had just returned from a 
cruise to Raratonga Island, was at anchor in the harbour. 

As this was the season of bad weather, Captain Hudson made every 
arrangement to meet it ; for the harbour of Apia is somewhat exposed 
to both the sea and the north wind, from which quarter it is said to 
blow most violently. 

On the 12th of December preceding, they had experienced there a 
violent hurricane, which had blown down many trees, and done a 
great deal of damage to the fruit. 

We are indebted to Mr. Cunningham for some observations on this 
storm, which are as follows. 

On the 12th of December, 1840, they had light winds from the 
southeast, the upper strata of clouds flying from southwest. The 
wind continued to increase until the 16th, when heavy squalls were 
experienced from the northeast. At 2 a. m. the wind was very heavy 
from the southeast, accompanied with rain, and some houses were 
blown down ; at half-past two, the gusts were very heavy from the 
south-southeast. The barometer although an injured one fell as low as 


24 in., its ordinary standing being 28 in. ; the temperature was 88°. 
At 6 a. m., the wind again rose with rapidity, blowing down houses 
and trees, stripping them of their leaves, which filled the air in all 
directions; the blasts were very severe at intervals of ten minutes. 
At 8 a. M., a sudden shift of wind took place to the southwest ; after 
which it moderated, and at noon the weather became clear, the wind 
still continuing from the southwest, while the upper stratum of clouds 
was now seen to pass over from the northeast. The following day 
the wind was in the same direction, with fine clear weather. Mr. 
Cunningham observes, that the houses were generally blown down 
after the change of wind occurred. 

The natives relate the occurrence of a similar gale, which did 
great damage, about nine years before, destroying all the plantations ; 
and, from their account, its changes took place in a similar manner, 
from the northeast to the southwest. 

From the great fall of the barometer, and the fury and sudden 
change of the gale of the 16th, its centre must have passed over Apia. 

Although these severe hurricanes do not happen very frequently 
at the Samoan Islands, yet, from reports that I received, I am dis- 
posed to believe that they occur very frequently between them and 
the Friendly Islands, where scarcely a season passes without some 
one of the islands suffering from one of these awful calamities. 

It would therefore be advisable for our whale-ships to avoid cruis- 
ing in the neighbourhood of these groups, during the season of the 
year that these storms are liable to occur, viz., from the middle of 
December to the end of March. Some ships have been almost made 
complete wrecks of, that were so unfortunate as to be overtaken by 

At the Samoan Islands, curious atmospheric phenomena are not 
uncommon. I am indebted to the same source for several notices of 
halos, and of one in particular, which happened at Fasetootai, about 
twenty miles to the westward of Apia, on the 1st March, 1840. The 
day was very clear, and, till near noon, no clouds were seen ; the sky 
was azure blue in the zenith, deepening into dark purple, or nearly 
black, on the horizon. At thirty minutes past noon, there was a 
white ring around the sun, of dazzling brightness, of five degrees 
width ; beyond it, a ring of white hazy appearance, of the radius of 
fifteen degrees, a deep-blue colour still continuing between the sun 
and halo. At 1 p. m., prismatic colours spread over the whole, and 

VOL. V. 6 


were very bright. At two o'clock, they had heavy squalls at Fase- 
tootai, with the wind at east-northeast. This phenomenon appears 
to have been local, for it was not observed at Apia, only twenty miles 
distant. The wind, however, during its continuance, was found to 
have changed to northwest-by-north, attended with heavy rain, and 
bad weather continued for a fortnight. Both Mr. Cunningham and 
Mr. Williams assured me that the halos and parhelia were usually 
followed by bad weather. 

At Apia, among their old acquaintances, they encountered Pea, the 
ruling chief of the place, whose begging propensities still existed in 
all their force. His form was equally rotund, and his desire of being 
of service quite as great. Report spoke of him as having become 
very religious of late, but his covetousness had not diminished in 
consequence, at least in the opinion of our officers. He was generally 
full of business, among his friends and relatives, all of whom he con- 
siders more or less as his dependants. He was very anxious to be in- 
formed what had become of his relative, Tuvai, the murderer, whom 
we had carried away from these islands on our former visit. 

Purser Speiden, who was the officer charged with procuring 
supplies, and superintending the trade with the natives, having found 
much difficulty in obtaining them alongside the ship, received per- 
mission to make arrangements for a suitable place on shore. For this 
purpose he procured a place to erect a pen for the pigs, &c. To 
show the exorbitant demands of the natives, and their desire to prac- 
tise imposition, I will state the difficulties he encountered. In the 
first place, he had to pay for the site on which to build a pen; 
secondly, for the logs and poles to build it with ; thirdly, for going 
after the timbers; fourthly, for building the pen; fifthly, for trans- 
ferring the live-stock to it ; sixthly, for services to a native to watch 
the pigs during the day and see that they did not escape; seventhly, 
to pay a man to collect cocoa-nuts for food ; eighthly, to pay a woman 
to feed them ; and ninthly, to pay a man to watch the pigs, taro, &c, 
during the night. Besides this, there was a charge made for trading 
under the large tree ! This traffic seldom failed to afford much 
amusement to the lookers-on. In the centre, near the trunk of the 
tree, was the trade-box, and near to it stood the trade-master, measur- 
ing- the fathoms of cloth. On one side were natives, seated with their 
cocoa-nuts and pigs, and others looking on ; some again sitting aloof, 
because they could not obtain their price, or the article they wanted ; 



and others watching their opportunity to obtain a small reward for 
some service. The vignette is from a sketch by Mr. Agate, of one of 
these parties at Apia. 



The missionaries were as attentive as formerly to the officers, and 
gave them every facility that lay in their power of spending their 
time usefully. They have been making progress in their efforts to 
civilize these natives, by establishing schools, and stimulating them 
to improve their condition. Almost every village now has its sub- 
stantial whitewashed church, which also serves for a school-house ; 
and, from the reports, both continue to be well attended. Some 
improvements were seen to have taken place in the dwellings, the 
arrangement of the interior having a more civilized look, not only 
from the numerous articles of European manufacture, but in an im- 
proved state of ventilation. The cattle and horses were on the 
increase, and there are few natives but have supplies of pigs, poultry, 
and the vegetables of the island. 

In the account of my visit to this island the year previous, I have 
mentioned the intention of Mr. Williams to extend the missionary 
field to the groups west of the Feejees, and had occasion to refer to 
his melancholy end in carrying out this intention, and the recovery 
of his bones by the Favourite, sloop of war. 

That occurrence, instead of damping the ardour of the survivors, 


has been the means of giving it a fresh impetus. Mr. Heath, who 
has become the successor to Mr. Williams, has made a cruise with a 
number of native missionaries, and succeeded in placing missionaries 
in the very island which was the scene of the massacre, with every 
prospect of success. 

The Camden was fitting out for another cruise, under the Rev. 
Mr. Murray, of Tutuila. Captain Hudson pressed upon them the 
expediency of a visit to the island that he had just discovered, 
Fakaafo, or Bowditch ; and it is to be hoped that ere long their enter- 
prise may lead them among this as yet uncontaminated people, who 
will then receive, coeval with their discovery, and prior to any con- 
taminating influence, the truths of the gospel. 

The plan adopted, of using native pioneers, seems to be one well 
calculated to succeed ; and I am satisfied, from the view I have had 
of missionary operations, that it is the only one likely to give a founda- 
tion on which to raise any permanent superstructure. 

The white missionaries have a vast many difficulties to contend 
with, and are very likely to-be deceived in some respects, in conse- 
quence of their general want of knowledge of the world. These 
difficulties are principally the hypocrisy and deceit of the natives, 
who are adepts in the art, giving a false impression relative to their 
feelings and designs, particularly when they think their personal 
interest may be promoted by their dissimulation. This trait of 
character is not confined to individuals, but frequently extends to 
whole districts. 

Influential natives, brought up as teachers, are well calculated for 
the duties of missionaries, and take pride in the performance of them, 
and being fully aware of the native character, understand well where 
to place their confidence. I have had occasion to speak of the 
enthusiastic manner in which they enter upon their duties. 

I would not be understood as throwing any doubt over the expe- 
diency of the missionary operations in these islands, but my intention 
is to express my preference of the mode they are now adopting to 
spread the gospel into the other islands, a mode which I am well 
satisfied will be of infinite advantage in facilitating the desired effect, 
and at a much less cost, both of time and money. 

No political change had taken place in the government. Malietoa 
and the Manono party still have the power in their hands, but reports 
were rife that the chief had been a backslider from his professions of 
Christianity, by attending some of the feasts of the devil's party. 


The consequence, as at his time of life may be readily imagined, was 
a fit of sickness, which has been considered as a judgment upon him, 
and caused his return with much contrition to his religious duties 
and observances. It is said, that during his illness there was much 
excitement among the high chiefs, in relation to the succession to his 
title, that of " Tupu," or sovereign; and some fears were entertained 
that an outbreak might occur, that would place the power in the 
hands of some of the restless spirits that are known to be averse to 
the missionaries. If, however, they have established themselves as 
firmly as appearances warrant one in believing, there cannot be much 
danger that their exertions will be retarded, much less put a stop to. 

Among the visiters to the ships, was Mole, the second son of 
Malietoa, of whom we had formed a good opinion during our former 
visit, and who, it was then generally supposed, would succeed his 
father in authority. He is warmly attached to the missionary cause, 
and affords important aid in carrying out their plans, having much in- 
fluence with his father, and restraining his evil propensities. He has 
the reputation of being very popular with the common people in the 
town of Sagana, where he resides and is a teacher. From him our gen- 
tlemen obtained the news of our friends among the nobility. Emma, 
his sister, whom we had all admired so much, and whose portrait is 
given in the second volume of this Narrative, was married to Samuel, 
the tall and handsome chief of Faleatii. The haughty Vavasa was in 
Manono, which was the case also with Malietoa. Tooa was absent, 
and many other chiefs who had attended the fono, were at their 
districts. Opotuno was still in Savaii, on the alert to prevent surprise, 
and it was reported that he had made some advances to join the 
missionaries with his people ; but little credit was given to this story. 
They also learned that at the time Captain Hudson was in search of 
him he was concealed, with a few of his followers, at a short distance. 

For the first eight days after the Peacock's arrival, they had almost 
continual rain, with the wind varying from the north to west, and 
with a disagreeable swell setting into the harbour. 

Tents were erected on shore to afford an opportunity for the neces- 
sary repairs to be made to the boats, and others for the use of the 
instruments of magnetism, &c. 

On the 10th, they experienced a strong gale from the north-by- 
west to northwest, with a heavy sea and torrents of rain. One of 
their anchors started, but they soon brought up with their sheet- 
anchor, although a ship would usually ride with very little strain 

VOL. v. 7 


upon her cables, owing to the strength of the tide, which causes her 
to lie nearly in the trough of the sea, and to roll very heavily. The 
stream of fresh water which empties into the harbour, has some 
tendency, when it is much swollen, to maintain a ship in this dis- 
agreeable position, by the force of its current. The harbour, through 
its discharges, is at times strewed with quantities of drift-wood. 

The rain continued without intermission for nearly the whole time 
of their stay, so that no opportunity could be had of airing or drying 
the sails. So long a duration of wet, together with the heat, caused 
some fears relative to the health of the crew, and particularly those 
who were away in the boats, from their being more exposed to the 
weather. Every precaution was taken to prevent sickness. 

A few days after they had been at anchor, Captain Hudson received 
a letter from Lieutenant Perry, who was of the surveying party, stating 
that the chiefs of Sanapu had enticed away and secreted two of the 
men, intending them for pilots of that harbour after the Peacock 
should depart, and had promised to protect them. A messenger was 
at once despatched across the island by Pea, the chief of Apia, de- 
manding the two deserters from the Sanapu chiefs ; at the same time 
assuring them that if the men were not immediately delivered up, 
the Peacock would be removed to their harbour, and their town de- 
stroyed. This had the desired effect, and the deserters were brought 
back to the ship by the chiefs of Sanapu. 

Captain Hudson, after rebuking the chiefs for the part they had 
taken in the transaction, and giving them some advice in regard to 
their future intercourse with the whites, paid them the reward Lieu- 
tenant Perry had offered for the apprehension of the deserters. 

On the 2 1st, Captain Hudson hearing that the noted Sangapolu- 
tale, principal chief of the towns of Saluafata, Fusi, and Salelese, who 
had protected and refused to give up the murderer of Gideon Smith, 
Tagi, before mentioned, was at one of the towns near by on a visit, 
determined, if possible, to surprise and take him prisoner, to be held 
until such time as the murderer were given up. For this purpose he 
visited the town before daylight of the 22d, with a few officers and 
men, but without success. 

Previous to this time, Captain Hudson had had intercourse with 
this chief through our consul, Mr. Williams; and had demanded of 
him the punishment or delivery of the murderer, Tagi. In the 
course of the communications, Sangapolutale acknowledged that the 
murderer ought to be punished or given up ; said he once wanted to 


kill him himself; but being a petty chief, he was backed and pro- 
tected by the chiefs and the people of the three towns before named, 
who were promised, in case of necessity, assistance from some of the 
neighbouring chiefs, as well as others on the opposite side of the island. 
He further said, that he was desirous of giving him up, a few months 
before, to the commander of the Porpoise. It was distinctly stated to 
Sangapolutale, that the murderer must be either punished or given 
up, in conformity to the regulations adopted in their fono, com- 
posed of all the principal chiefs in the island, and that if neither of 
these stipxilations were complied with, Captain Hudson would be 
compelled to employ the force under him in burning the towns that 
concealed and protected the murderer, and set their own laws and us 
at defiance. 

Three days were given him from the time of the interview, to 
comply with the demand. He promised to do what he could, but he 
was fearful of the result, as his people wanted to fight, and had been 
promised aid from many quarters. 

On the third day, his messengers arrived at Apia, and brought 
word that the chiefs and people were determined that the murderer 
should not be given up or punished ; that they defied the Papa- 
langis and their power ; and that, if Captain Hudson chose to 
come and take him, they would give him a fight. The messenger 
further stated, that they well knew he would be demanded according 
to their own regulations, but they would take care he should not be 
punished or given up, for they were prepared to resist any attempt 
that would be made. Many other insulting messages were received ; 
among them, one from the murderer and his friends, that when " he 
could kill a few more white men, he would be given up." 

Such were their threats and boasting : their conduct was conforma- 
ble to them, as represented by our consul, the missionaries, and Mr. 
Cunningham, H. B. M. vice-consul. Captain Hudson now saw the 
necessity of taking some steps that would check this criminal and 
audacious spirit, and prove to the natives that we had the power to 
punish these aggressions on our citizens. 

The attempt to take the chief was designed to bring them to terms, 
without any further difficulty ; but not being successful, it was neces- 
sary to take some effectual measures for their punishment, particularly 
as the three towns had now united with their chiefs in setting our 
force at defiance. The missionaries also saw the necessity of doing- 
something to insure the safety of those who may hereafter have 


communication with the natives, by renewing in their minds the 
fear of our power. 

Notwithstanding the weather was so very unpropitious, the natu- 
ralists made excursions to the different parts of the island. They all 
describe the luxuriance of the vegetation as exceeding any thing they 
had before witnessed : the rich soil, combined with the heat and 
copious rains, rendered every spot fertile, and seemed to give new life 
to the vast variety of parasitic plants with which all the trees were 
covered, and which, in the groves, were so thick as to form masses 
impenetrable to the rays of the sun. A remarkable ficus was passed 
on this trip, of which Mr. Agate made a characteristic drawing, and 
which will give a good idea of their size and manner of growth : the 
road or path passes through its trunk. A number of other trees were 
remarkable : among them the "ife," a gigantic chestnut, with its pro- 
jecting buttresses around the trunk. The woods were enlivened by 
many birds, and the air filled with their songs and chirpings. 

At Siusinga, a devil's town, Messrs. Rich, Peale, and Agate, saw 
Seeovedi, better known as Joe Gimblet, the great priest of his creed. 
He lay on a mat by himself, no one speaking or going near him, and 
was pretending to read his sacred book, which our gentlemen disco- 
vered was a volume of the Rambler ! This was obtained from him, 
by Mr. Agate, in exchange for a treatise on rail-roads, which had a 
flashy red cover, and therefore calculated to inspire his flock with 
additional reverence for their priest. He also made use of a kind 
of gibberish in talking to them, wishing, as was supposed, to give his 
followers the idea that he could speak the Papalangis' language. How 
he had contrived to propitiate the anger of the old chief Lelomiava, 
was not ascertained ; but a story was told of him, that about a year 
before he had lost his two wives, and disappeared, informing his 
followers he was going to heaven to procure a third. He absented 
himself about a week, no one being informed where he had gone. 
On his return without a wife, he was asked where she was. His 
reply was, that the Great Spirit had told him that he was too old to 
marry a young wife, and must return to his people, who would take 
care of him, provide him with food, and do for him all that a wife 
could do. He accordingly returned, in obedience to the Spirit's 
directions, and appears to live contented, all his wants being supplied 
without any care or trouble to himself. One of the most ridiculous 
parts of this fellow's proceedings, was a native bringing to him an old 
tea-kettle, which was tabooed and held sacred, on which he began 


beating with an iron knife, making much noise, his face assuming a 
contemplative expression, until he had done with his mummeries. 
Strange as it may seem, he has many proselytes, and nearly all the 
inhabitants of the district of Sagana are followers of his doctrine. 
Their appearance contrasts very strongly with that of the Christian 
villages, while the heathens are, to appearance, almost a different race 
of people : the one with long hair, gathered in a knot on the top of 
the head, and only clothed in the maro ; the other with short hair, 
and dressed in a clean shirt and pareu. To strangers, both are 
generally kind and hospitable, and continue the Samoan custom of 
offering food to travellers as they pass through the village. 

Since our visit in 1839, Mr. Day had taken up his residence 
within two miles of Malietoa's town, where Mr. Hale and Dr. 
"Whittle spent an hour or two with him, and proceeded thence to 
visit Malietoa. Near the new church, the house of Mole was pointed 
out, in which he had adopted many of the conveniences introduced 
by foreigners : the floor of his house was of boards, raised above the 
ground, and his doors were made to turn on hinges. The interior 
was divided by partitions into four rooms. A table and some rude 
seats composed the furniture. How far this example will be followed 
by the natives, time alone can determine. I believe that all those 
who have examined and reflected upon the condition of the natives 
of the South Sea islands, will be satisfied that it will be a very 
desirable improvement, both for their comfort and health, if they can 
be induced to abandon their modes of sleeping on the damp ground ; 
and some endeavours have already been made to effect a change in 
this respect, as one of the best means to prevent the diseases of the 
climate, which are thought to arise principally from this cause. 

These gentlemen also visited Malietoa, who was still occupying 
the same small house, directly opposite the fale-tele, in which I saw 
him during my visit. On entering, they were greeted by his two 
wives, the matronly Lauilupa, and Siona, the younger, both of whom 
still maintained their fleshy appearance. They recognised Mr. Hale, 
and gave him a warm greeting. The old king, who had been sleep- 
ing on his divan or raised floor, now came forward. He appeared 
greatly changed, and was scarcely to be recognised as the same 
person. Instead of his dignified and upright carriage, which struck 
us all so much at our former visit, his form had become meagre and 
shrunken, and he was apparently bowed down with years, and 
trembling with infirmities. 


He saluted our gentlemen with his usual courtesy, and, after seating 
himself, listened to the account of their visit, and of the news at Apia. 
He still retained much of his former air of command and sternness, 
which caused him to be likened by Dr. Whittle to a sick lion. 
He was unable to sit up long, and was soon again asleep. Old 
Lauilupa now entertained them by complaining of her sufferings 
from rheumatism, which Dr. Whittle gave her directions how to 

The two wives began, in a short time, to beg for presents — the 
elder one for needles and thread, the younger for jews-harps, rings, 
and looking-glasses. These were promised, on their sending to the 
ship for them. They supplied their guests with food, which was 
served on an eating-mat, and consisted of pork, fish, taro, and yams. 
The queens sat by, pointing out the choicest bits, and, had not our 
gentlemen declined the honour, seemed disposed to use their royal 
fingers for its conveyance to their mouths. 

In the evening, they took a stroll around the village, where every 
house was found lighted up with a cocoanut-oil lamp, or a torch of 
the candle-nut, strung upon a stick, and some with the fire of dry 
cocoa-nut leaves. In each house a family circle was usually seen, 
variously employed, some eating, some talking, others braiding sennit, 
but no amusements ; for it was Saturday evening, and they were 
preparing for the Sabbath. Wherever they went, they were l'eceived 
with civility, and invited to eat. 

Returning to Malietoa, another meal was found provided for them, 
after which they were taken to a neighbouring house, which had 
been prepared as their sleeping apartment. 

In the morning, they were awakened early by a little boy, who 
brought them water for washing, which showed an attention to their 
comforts scarcely to have been expected among those who are con- 
sidered as only half civilized. 

When they rose in the morning, although but a little after sunrise, 
they found the natives already collected, at morning prayers, in the 
church, under the ministration of Mole ; and, after the service was 
finished, they were invited to breakfast with him. 

The return for Malietoa's hospitality was now to be made, prior 
to their departure ; and all they had, consisted of but a few small 
articles ; but these were joyfully received, with many thanks; and our 
gentlemen took their leave, and returned to the ship. 

Subsequently to this, Mr. Hale made a visit to the village of Mata- 


fayatele, where he was fortunate in being a witness to a little festival, 
called "faausi." A procession of about twenty men issued from a 
grove, bearing on their shoulders large wooden trays, shaped like 
shallow troughs. They were all dressed in gala-dresses, having 
wreaths of leaves and flowers about the neck and breast, with plumes 
of sugar-cane blossoms in their hair. They marched forward in 
quick time, to a lively song, which they sang in unison, until they 
reached the fale-tele, where a crowd appeared to be expecting them. 
In the house there were thirty or forty elderly men, seated around the 
sides, while in the centre a number of youths were busy in serving to 
each a mess of food from the trays. The chief who was the head of 
the feast, was recognised by Mr. Hale as having been named Tongi- 
pavo on our former visit, which name, he was informed, had been 
exchanged for that of Benjamin, since his conversion to Christianity. 
He gave Mr. Hale a seat near him, and ordered a mess of food to be 
served. It proved to be mashed taro, mixed with grated cocoa-nut 
and soaked in cocoa-nut oil. The whole had been wrapped in banana- 
leaves and cooked. Mr. Hale found it quite palatable, and somewhat 
like cold mush fried in butter. After those present had satisfied their 
hunger, each wrapped up a portion of it in banana-leaves, to carry to 
his family. The whole was a pleasing sight, exhibiting one of the 
social customs of their primitive mode of life. 

The surveying boats having returned, and the ship having reple- 
nished her stores of wood and water, and finished the repairs, Captain 
Hudson prepared for his departure, having determined to proceed to 
Saluafata Harbour. 

As their time of departure had become known, and it drew near, 
their friends and acquaintances of rank did not omit to pay them 
frequent visits. Among these was old Pea, of Apia, Mole, and 
others. These visits ought to have been termed begging visits, as 
they seldom saw a thing that pleased them that they did not ask for. 
Mole brought a complaint to Captain Hudson, of an outrage by a 
white vagabond on shore; but it was shrewdly suspected that, not- 
withstanding his being a missionary teacher, his design was to get 
more presents from his parting friends. 

On the 23d, Captain Hudson was visited by Matetau, the cele- 
brated war-chief of Manono. In coming to the ship, he and his 
numerous retinue were overtaken by a violent shower of rain, which 
completely wet them. As the old chief was somewhat chilled and 
cold, Captain Hudson supplied him with a clean and dry shirt. He 



professed himself delighted; all was "very good," captain, officers 
and ship. His visit, like that of all the other chiefs, was evidently 
to receive his quantum of presents, and hence his desire to make 
himself as agreeable as possible. His features were more strongly 
marked than those of the islanders usually are ; he is above the 
middle size, has an aquiline nose, and a high and retreating fore- 
head, with the frontal portion narrow, but widening behind the ears, 
having, as some thought, a strong resemblance to the chiefs of New 
Zealand. He adopted the usual Samoan custom of pleasing by 
flattery, grimaces, and gesticulations, enacting, as was thought, a 
fight. He had picked up a few words of English, which he did not 
fail to make use of to attract attention. Owing to the necessity of 
getting under way, his visit terminated at an early hour. He left the 
ship apparently very much gratified with his visit, or, in other words, 
with the presents he had received. Mr. Agate succeeded in getting a 
good sketch of him. 

On the 22d, they took leave of their kind friends, the missionaries 
and residents, with many wishes that they might be successful in 
their operations. The winds were light, and two days were spent 
before they reached the harbour of Saluafata, where they anchored 
on the evening of the 24th. 

At daylight, orders were sent to Acting-Master Knox, in charge of 
the tender, to anchor, with the assistance of the boats, abreast of the 
town of Saluafata, to cover the landing party, and clear the town. 
At the same time, special orders were given by Captain Hudson 
to the first lieutenant (Mr. Walker) of the Peacock, placing under 


his direction the boats of that ship. This will be found in Ap- 
pendix I. 

On an examination of the passage through the reef, Mr. Knox 
reported, contrary to the account given by Lieutenant Emmons 
when he surveyed the harbour, that there was not water enough for 
the tender. Fearing some difficulty, Captain Hudson had anchored 
the Peacock as near the reef as possible, and not wishing to risk the 
tender in any way, countermanded part of his orders, and determined 
to clear the town with the Peacock's guns, being aware that none 
but the fighting men remained, and that all their valuables and 
movable property had been removed. 

Preparations were therefore made for swinging the broadside to 
the town, and the necessary arrangements for landing completed. 
Captain Hudson, however, still thought it proper to wait a few hours, 
in the hope of receiving some communication from the natives, and 
that they would, at the last moment, agree to give up or punish the 
murderer. But no overtures whatever being made, at nine o'clock 
the boats were manned, and lay on their oars, ready for the signal to 
proceed. A fire was now opened from the ship, the balls being 
elevated so as to pass over the town ; after which the boats pushed 
for the shore, the party landed, and the town of Saluafata, which 
consisted of about seventy-five houses, was reduced to ashes. The 
towns of Fusi and Salelese, of some fifty more, shared the same fate. 
The party then returned to the ship, without any accident to them- 
selves or the natives, having met with no opposition whatever, not- 
withstanding the great boastings and bravado messages which had 
been sent by the chiefs and inhabitants. 

This act was performed with great reluctance, and not -until the 
most perfect conviction of its being absolutely necessary to secure 
the safety of the crews of such of our whaling fleet as touch at this 
island, as well as to restore the respect due to our flag and those 
who sail under it, and to correct the erroneous opinion, that our for- 
bearance was the result of fear of their prowess and numbers. In 
their transactions, and outrages committed on strangers, they had 
exhibited a fearlessness and spirit of daring that it was time to put a 
stop to. By this attack upon them, they became fully sensible that 
they were not our equals in war, nor capable of resisting attacks 
that might be made on them; they have, in consequence, become 
much more humble, so that the general opinion throughout the 

VOL. V. 9 


islands is, that hereafter they must conform to the regulations they 
made on our former visit, and maintain them with strict integrity 
towards foreigners. 

Since this transaction, I have received letters from the island of 
Upolu, which inform me that this well-deserved punishment has had 
a most happy effect, and has put a termination to evils that had for- 
merly been of common occurrence. 

Communication was had with Apia the day after, the natives of 
which town rather exulted in the punishment that had taken place. 

In leaving the harbour of Saluafata, the Peacock had a narrow- 
escape from wreck; for, as they were standing out of the passage, 
they were overtaken by a heavy squall, with torrents of rain, and it 
being near the close of the day, pitchy darkness ensued, and breakers 
were unexpectedly found under their lee. There was no possibility 
of returning; but by carrying a press of canvass, they succeeded, 
however, in getting clear, and an offing was attained by ten o'clock, 
when it fell calm. 

During the day they were at anchor in Saluafata Harbour, the 
thermometer stood on board the ship at 93° in the shade, and at 150° 
in the sun. It was found oppressively warm, notwithstanding there 
was a fine breeze blowing. 

The chief Opotuno, who had committed so many murders, was still 
at large, and it was conceived that if he could be taken, it would be 
an example that would be long remembered. For this purpose, it 
was believed that by obtaining Pea, the chief of Manono, to whom 
Opotuno was related, the latter would be given up. 

The duty of taking the former was entrusted to Lieutenant Em- 
mons, under whose charge the tender was put, and instructions given 
him to proceed to Manono, make the chief prisoner without injury to 
him or the inhabitants of that island ; and in case of his capture, to 
proceed to Savaii, and there offer an asylum to Mr. M'Donald, the 
missionary resident in Opotuno's district. Lieutenants Walker and 
De Haven, were employed the same night to capture Malietoa, and 
the chief George, of Cocoa-nut Point. Captain Hudson's instructions 
to this party, as well as those to Lieutenant Emmons, will be found 
in Appendix II. 

Neither of these parties succeeded in their attempts. The reports 
of the officers are also included in Appendix II. 

On the evening of the 5th, they anchored in the roadstead of Ma- 


taatua, island of Savaii. They had constant rain and squally weather, 
with a strong gale of wind from the northwest. 

I was somewhat in hopes that this visit would have led to a further 
knowledge of the interior of Savaii, and of its numerous craters, 
which would have enabled us to make a comparison with those of 
Hawaii, for, from appearances, and so far as information could be 
obtained, the discharges from the terminal crater of Savaii must be 
similar with those of Mauna Loa. It will be recollected that Dr. 
Pickering endeavoured, during our first visit to the Satnoan Group, 
to reach what was termed the "run" or burnt district, and which 
no doubt resembles the flows of lava that have taken place on Hawaii, 
of which particular descriptions have been given. 

The weather was so unfavourable, that Captain Hudson deemed 
it imprudent to make any delay in so exposed a roadstead, and they 
accordingly left it, after ascertaining its position, and making a 
farther survey and examination of it. 

The town of Mataatua is beautifully situated on a bay, which is 
no more than a mere indentation of the coast. It is surrounded by 
extensive cocoa-nut groves, behind which the houses are built, in 
number about four hundred. The town contains about two thou- 
sand inhabitants, most of whom are still heathens, and their conduct 
proved it as much as their looks, for they were more rude and ill- 
looking than any other natives observed in the group, and reminded 
the officers of the Feejeeans. This place is the residence of Mr. 
Pratt, a missionary, who has been established here since the visit of 
the Porpoise. 

Captain Hudson considers the bay of Mataatua as much exposed at 
all seasons; but between the 1st of December and the end of March, 
when the north and northwest winds and gales prevail, it is quite 
dangerous, and should not be visited. 

The natives of Savaii are well acquainted with Uea or Wallis 
Island, to the westward. The west point of the bay is called Ma- 
tauea, " face of Uea," after the name of the island in that direction. 

Some of their spears, clubs, &c, were quite different from those 
used among the other Samoans, and were in all probability derived 
from the above island. These facts, in connexion with the winds at 
this season, are satisfactory evidence that there is no difficulty in the 
natives migrating to the eastward ; indeed, if they are driven off by 
unforeseen storms, this is the season that these accidents would be 



most likely to happen, and their migrations to take place. On refer- 
ence to the currents and winds, as exhibited throughout the progress 
of the voyage on the Track Map, it will be seen that there is no diffi- 
culty in these migrations being made from west to east. 

sjzz u. - - 







On the 6th of March, the Peacock and Flying-Fish sailed from 
the roadstead of Mataatu, for the islands known on the chart of 
Arrowsmith as Ellice's Group. 

On the 7th, they lost sight of the Samoan Isles. 

The vessels pursued their course to the westward, with a fresh 
wind from north-northeast, until the 14th, when they crossed the 
meridian of 180°, and dropped a day in their reckoning. 

The temperature of the air during this part of the passage from the 
Samoan Isles had increased from 76° to 84°, and that of the water 
from 78° to 86°. 

At noon, on the 14th, they made land, and by 2 p. m., they were 
close to what proved to be an extensive ring of small islets, situated 
on a coral reef surrounding a lagoon. These are so far separated as 
to give the idea of distinct islands, which has probably led to their 
having the name of " Group." These islets are well covered with 
cocoa-nut and other trees, which give them a sufficient elevation to 
be seen at ten or twelve miles distance. The reef which links these 
islets is awash, over which the sea breaks with violence. There are 
two openings in its west side, and an island off its southwest point, at 
the distance of a mile, five miles in length, by two in width. The 
island is thirteen miles long, in a north-by-east and south-by-west 
direction, and seven miles and two-tenths east and west. 

When the vessels had approached within a short distance of the 
largest island, two canoes were seen coming towards the ship, only 
one of which came near. In it were five men ; and from the familiar 


manner in which they came alongside, it was evident they had had fre- 
quent communication with vessels. They refused to come on board, 
but exhibited various articles of traffic, consisting of cocoa-nuts, mats, 
rolls of sennit, maros, large wooden fish-hooks, war-knives and swords 
fitted with sharks' teeth, and some rough war-clubs. Their canoe 
was in construction much more rude and rough than any met with 
of similar size : it was about twenty feet long, dug out of a single 
log, and the sides had strips lashed on to raise them higher. It 
had an out-rigger and paddles very similar to those seen at the other 

These natives were, in general appearance, inferior to those of the 
Samoan Islands, of middle size, and with deep brown complexions, 
like the Hawaiians, whom they were thought also to resemble in 
features ; but they were well provided with beard, in which respect 
they resemble the Feejees. They wore their hair, which was thick 
and bushy, long. One of them was observed to have it parted into 
five or six large clubs of hair, hanging loose about his head, and 
resembling large foxes' tails. 


They were tattooed differently from any heretofore seen, their arms 
being covered, from the shoulder to the wrist, with small curved figures 
or zigzag lines. They had this tattooing also on the body, extending 
from the armpits to the waist, and down, until the whole body was 
encompassed in the same manner. No marks were observed on the 
face or legs, but on two of them were a few lines across the small of 
the back. They wore no clothing, but a strip of fine matting, as a 
maro, and a coarser piece tied about the hips : the first, which was 



made of the pandanus-leaf, was about eight inches wide, and ten feet 
long, and was fringed on each side, which increased its width. The 
coarser girdle was worn, and attached to it were slips of pandanus- 
leaf, a foot long, dyed red, by way of ornament, which at a distance 
had the appearance of ribands. 

One of the men was a petty chief, and was held in respect by his 
companions. There was another, whose costume was very peculiar : 
around the head and waist he had a strip of pandanus-leaves, which 
was so arranged as to form a series of points. The attitudes of these 
natives were equally singular : one of these is represented in the 


They had no other weapons but spears and knives, and seemed to 
be equipped for a fishing-party, from the implements they had with 
them. Some rolls of sennit were bought, and lanje wooden shark- 
hooks. Their spears were only poles of cocoanut-wood, pointed at 
one end ; and their knives made of small shark's teeth, inserted into 
a stick with gum and fine seimit, and are about a foot long. 

It was soon found that they understood the Samoan language, and 
spoke a purely Polynesian dialect. The Samoan native easily con- 

VOL. V. 11 


versed with them. They gave the name of the island as Fanafute. 
They seemed perfectly familiar with white men, and when the guns 
were fired for a base by sound, they showed no kind of alarm. 

The island was surveyed, and was found to be in latitude 8° 30' 45" 
S., longitude 179° 13' 30" E. There appears to be good anchorage 
within the lagoon; an abundance of wood is to be had, but it is 
believed there is no adeqiiate supply of fresh water. 

From what was ascertained, the population was put down at two 
hundred and fifty souls. 

The vessel left Ellice's Group the same evening, proceeded under 
easy sail, and at daylight made the Depeyster Islands, distant three 
and a half miles to the northwest. The two following days, they had 
squally weather, accompanied with heavy rains, with the wind north- 
ward, which obliged them to stand off from the island, as no work 
could be done. The island was thus lost sight of, but on the 17th it 
was again made from aloft, to the northward and westward. 

On the 18th, the trade-wind set in and brought fine weather; but 
exceedingly warm, the thermometer standing at 85° in. the shade. 

They surveyed this island ; and on the same day, Tracy's Island, 
whose native name is Oaitupu, was in sight to the eastward. The 
observations placed it in latitude 7° 28' 00" S., and longitude 178° 
43' 35" E. It is well covered with trees, and to all appearance as 
extensive as Depeyster Island. As the wind was directly contrary, 
and a strong current flowing to the west, Captain Hudson thought it 
would be a waste of time to attempt to reach it. 

Several canoes, with the natives of Depeyster's Group or Island, 
came off to the ship : they used triangular sails, similar to those of 
the rest of Polynesia. The natives proved to be of the same race as 
those of Ellice's Group; speaking the same language, and tattooed 
after the same fashion. 

In colour, however, many of them were rather darker ; but few 
were above the middle size, and none of them had the manly beauty 
of the Samoans. A greater variety of fashions prevailed among them, 
which exhibited itself more particularly in their hair. Some wore it 
like that of the Feejees, and the locks were frequently of a red- 
dish brown, although the natural colour was black. Their skin was 
coarse and rough to the touch ; in many it was disfigured after a 
singular fashion, and in some it appeared as if a scurf prevailed, 
resembling a person whose skin was peeling off from the effects 
of the sun; in others, the stage of the disease was seen farther 


advanced, the scurf having disappeared and left the skin marked 
with circular and wavy lines, which the natives called "tafa."* 
About a fifth part of the natives seen were affected in this manner; 
and the skin of these was much lighter than in any Polynesian race 
they had met with. Among the natives were two albinos; the colour 
of their skin was of a reddish white, the hair of a flaxen white, 
with light-blue eyes, so weak as to oblige them to use a shade, and 
to keep their eyes constantly half closed. Their persons seemed also 
to be quite tender, and they avoided exposure to the sun by an 
additional mat over the shoulders. They were covered in many 
places with large brown freckles : their whole appearance was any 
thing but pleasing. The account they gave of themselves was, that 
their parents were the same as the rest of the islanders, and that 
their other children were dark. 

The tattooing was in great variety on the body; but in all, the arms 
were tattooed alike, for there it varied only in quantity. On the body 
it was frequently extended across the back and to the abdomen ; and 
in many, the bodies and thighs were tattooed down as far as the knee. 
Many of the natives designated the figures as intended to represent 
pigeons (lupe). 

These islanders wore three kinds of mats, made of the pandanus- 
leaf : one was similar to that described at Ellice's Group and worn 
as a maro ; another was worn as a girdle of thick fringe, from eight 
inches to a foot broad, tied about the loins so as to cover in part the 
maro : to this they gave the name of " takai ;" the last was used as a 
wrapper about the body and legs. The fringes of these mats were 
all dyed of various colours, and the wrapper was tinged on one side 
in large patterns of divers colours, some in squares, others in dia- 
mond forms, which at a little distance had a pretty effect. These 
mats were worn for different purposes; and the latter seemed to 
belong to the higher or privileged orders, as the only person who 
was seen to wear one was the chief. A great many of these mats 
were brought off for sale, and bought. 

On their approach to the ship, every one was seen to have a cocoa- 
nut leaflet tied around the neck, — a practice which attracted parti- 
cular notice by their endeavour to keep it constantly in view, from 

* A name the Samoans apply to the marks they burn on the skin for mourning. 
This was imputed to the effects of a disease somewhat allied to the ringworm, by the 
medical officers, while others thought it might have resulted from exposure to the sun, 
and moisture of the climate. 


which it was inferred, it might be with them a sign of amity and 
peace. In all, the lobe of the ear was bored, and distended to the 
size of an inch in diameter : around this they insert small rings of 
tortoise-shell, so neatly made- that it is difficult to discern the place 
where they are joined. Many of them had shells and mother-of-pearl 
ornaments suspended round their necks. 

Only one woman was seen in the canoes, and every endeavour was 
made to induce her to come on board, that her likeness might be pro- 
cured, but without effect; she could not be prevailed upon. She was 
prepossessing in her appearance, with a pleasing expression of coun- 
tenance, and had a modest demeanour. She wore a cincture around 
her waist, and a mat over her bosom. The cincture was made of 
pandanus-leaves ; this was fastened to a cord as a thick fringe, two 
feet in length, and extended to her knees. Her arms were beautifully 
tattooed, of the same figure as the men, but the tattooing was con- 
tinued down the leg in horizontal stripes, an inch and a half wide. 
This constitutes a great difference from the Polynesians, for with 
them we have never before met with any females who were tattooed, 
excepting a few marks on the fingers and feet. 

Twenty or thirty of these natives came on board, while the rest 
remained in the canoes, of which there were about fifteen, having 
an average of five natives to each. Their desire was to exchange 
their articles for hatchets and plane-irons : iron articles of all kinds 
were in great demand, together with beads and rings. 

After they had exhausted their desire for trade, some few of them 
went below, and entertained the officers with a dance and song, both 
of which resembled those of Polynesia, which have been heretofore 

In the afternoon the chief paid the ship a visit. He was styled 
both the god and chief of the island, and was a very fine-looking 
man, about forty years of age, and grave in his deportment. He 
reckoned six towns on the island, five of them on the northeast side, 
and one on the southwest. The population was estimated at one 

The natives said that they had pigs and taro, and brought off 
some of the latter; but it was small, both in size and quantity. 
The only articles of food that the natives had with them in their 
canoes were the young cocoa-nut and the fruit of the pandanus. The 
former were, for the most part, quite young, and fit only for drinking; 
but there were some that were old and filled with pulp, to which 


they gave the name of utanu, and of which they seemed very fond. 
Besides taro, they said that they had a much larger root called 
"pulaka." Yams and bananas they knew by name, but had none 
of them. 

An opening being discovered as the ship passed along the reef, 
Lieutenant De Haven was sent to examine it, and he found a good 
ship-channel into the lagoon. The passage was one-third of a mile 
wide, and the least depth of water in it was five fathoms. It leads to 
an anchorage in from seventeen to twenty fathoms, on a sandy bottom, 
where a vessel may lie well protected by the reef. The current was 
found to be setting out of this passage at the rate of two and a half 
miles per hour. 

When Lieutenant De Haven returned, he was accompanied by the 
chief, who called himself both the chief and god of the island, Foilape. 
He was a fine-looking man, about forty years of age, with prominent 
features, his hair cut short and nicely oiled. His legs were swollen 
with the elephantiasis. He was gaily dressed, with both the maro 
and girdle, beside the square mat of various colours around his waist. 
He saluted the officers with the rubbing of noses, and said that his 
name had been Faikatea, which he had changed with Lieutenant 
De Haven. He remained but a short time on board, and explained 
by his motions the necessity of his leaving the ship before the sun 
went down. He was very urgent that some of them should accom- 
pany him, and pass the night at his village; but finding nobody 
disposed to do so, he departed, and the rest soon followed. 

This island was called by the natives Nukufetau ; they were 
acquainted with Fanafute, or Ellice's Island, and also with Oaitupu, 
or Tracy's Island. On being asked if these were all the lands they 
knew of, they said, pointing to the east, that beyond Oaitupu there 
were three islands, called Oatafu, Nukunono, and Fakaafo, which it 
will be recollected are those of the Union Group. Mr. Hale pressed 
the inquiry, if this were all; and with some hesitation they added the 
name of Oloosinga, which is one of the small eastern islands of the 
Samoan Group; but what seemed strange, they did not understand 
the name of Samoa. On mentioning Tonga and Haabai, the names 
appeared to be recognised. Some bananas attracting their attention, 
which they saw hanging up, they called futi rotumaf Mr. Hale, in 
his inquiries, found the pronunciations of these natives very distinct, 
and it enabled him better to understand the orthography of their 

VOL. v. 12 


These islanders gave the name of their god as Foilape : on inquiry 
being made if the Tui-Tokelau also lived there, they immediately 
replied, that he was the god of Fakaafo, thus exhibiting an intimate 
acquaintance with the Union Group. It is not a little remarkable 
that many of the officers were struck with the great likeness that 
the chief of the island, Faikatea, bore to Taupe, of Fakaafo. At 
Fakaafo, mention was made of an island called Pokapoka: this name 
the natives of Nukufetau recognised immediately, and said that it 
was an island thickly inhabited. We have not been able to ascertain 
with what island the name can be associated. All these circum- 
stances induced a strong belief that these islanders were derived, at 
no very remote period, from those of the Union Group ; and the fact 
of the latter being entirely ignorant of other lands, would lead more 
strongly to that belief. 

When Mr. Hale pronounced the name of Tagaloa, the great deity 
of Polynesia, it appeared to surprise and annoy them. One of them 
mentioned that Tagaloa was a god taboo to their country, and refused 
to speak farther about him. 

They reported that ten ships had visited their island, and added 
that a ship of the Wiwi people had spent some days about their 
island in fishing : that the captain, with five others, had slept on 
shore. It was conjectured that Wiwi was the appellation by which 
they distinguish the French people or ships, this term being made 
use of in New Zealand. The invitations to go on shore were accom- 
panied by such significant signs as to lead to the conclusion that they 
were not the most virtuous people, and very unlike their ancestors, or 
race of the Union Group, whose only desire seemed to be to get rid 
of the parties before night. 

The extreme north island was found in latitude 7° 56' 11" S., lon- 
gitude 178° 27' 32" E.; it is eight miles long, east-northeast and 
west-southwest ; its greatest width is nearly the same. 

The vessels left Nukufetau the same evening, and steered away 
to the northward. In latitude 6° 10' S., and longitude 177° 41' E., 
they passed a small island which has no lagoon, and does not appear 
to be named on any of the charts. This they saw at some distance, 
and although it appears to have been seen before, yet as the charts 
only designate it as an island, I have bestowed upon it the name of 
Speiden, after the purser of the Peacock, one of the most valuable 
officers of the Expedition. 

On the 24th, they fell in with another island, in latitude 6° 19' S., 


longitude 176° 23' 15" E. This discovery I have called Hudson, 
after Captain Hudson. It was surveyed, and found to be but one 
mile and four-tenths long, north and south, and nine-tenths of a mile 
wide, east and west. This island is inhabited, a few natives being 
seen on the beach, and several houses under cocoa-nut trees on its 
west side. It is of coral formation, has no lagoon, and can be seen 
about eight or ten miles. There are reefs extending from its north 
and south points nearly half a mile, on which the surf breaks heavily. 
They had no communication with its inhabitants. 

On the 25th, they passed the small island of St. Augustine, whose 
position as ascertained was in latitude 5° 35' 00" S., and longitude 
176° 06' E. It appeared well wooded, but being to windward, it 
could not be reached without much delay. The wind, thus far, 
among these islands, had been from the north, and very unfavourable 
for a vessel cruising among them for their examination ; and being 
light and variable, little progress could be made in any direction. 

Until the 3d of April, they continued to sail to the northward, 
without meeting with any islands. On that day they made Drum- 
mond's Island of the charts, one of the Kingsmill Group, where they 
encountered the regular northeast trades. This island is called Tapu- 
teouea by the natives; it is situated in latitude 1° 20' 00" S., and longi- 
tude 174° 57' 00" E. It is of coral formation, is thirty miles long in a 
northwest and southeast direction, and varies in width from a half to 
three quarters of a mile. This, however, only includes the high por- 
tions, or that which is above the ocean level a few feet. It is thinly 
covered with cocoa-nut and pandanus trees, and not a patch of grass 
is to be seen, or any sort of shrubbery or undergrowth. To the 
leeward, or on its west side, the reefs and sand-banks extend off some 
distance, gradually increasing from the northwest point to the south- 
east, where they are as much as six and a half miles in width. 
This reef is interrupted in places, and there is good anchorage off the 
town of Utiroa, towards the northwest end, near a small sand-bank, 
which is usually bare. The whole shore of the island as they ap- 
proached it appeared covered with houses, presenting to the view one 
continuous village. At intervals of a mile there were buildings of 
huge proportions, far exceeding in size any they had before met 

As they approached, canoes were seen coming towards them from 
all parts of the island. The appearance of these natives was totally 
different from those already seen to the south. They appeared of the 


E L L I C E ' S AND K I N G S M I L 1/ G R O U P. 

middle size, slender, and well proportioned. Their colour was a 
shade or two darker than that of the Tahitians, and they exhibited a 
greater variety of face and features, with black glossy hair, finer than 
in other races. Their features were small, but high and well marked; 
their eyes large, black, and bright; their nose straight or slightly 
aquiline, and always somewhat widened at the base ; their mouth 
large, with full lips and small teeth, which were very imperfect from 
decay, and they are the only natives in the Pacific with this defect. 
From the projection of the cheek-bones, the eye had in some the 
appearance of being sunken. They wore mustaches, but their beards 
were scanty. They evidently set a great value on these as ornaments, 
priding themselves much upon their appearance. The few officers 
who had whiskers were very much admired, the natives patting their 
whiskered cheeks with great marks of admiration. 

Altogether they were thought to resemble the Malays. Many of 
them were observed to have the same disease as exists at Ellice's 
Island, disfiguring the body, and giving it the same scurfy and dis- 
gusting appearance. 


The majority of these islanders go entirely naked, excepting a 
covering for the head, consisting usually of the bleached pandanus- 
leaf. Mr. Agate's sketch of one, represented in the wood-cut, will 
give an idea of this head-dress. 


Although it has been said that the majority go naked, it must not 
be understood that the rest are clothed, for they wear no more than 
a sort of girdle, which, however, serves no purposes of decency, only 
covering the abdomen and lower part of the back. Some few had 
over their shoulders a strip of matting, with a hole in the centre for 
the head to pass through, in order to protect their bodies from the sun. 
A few were tattooed very lightly, and in some it was scarcely distin- 
guishable. Those that were so adorned had it from the breast to the 
ankles, consisting of short oblique marks, an inch or two in length, 
drawn parallel a quarter of an inch apart : there was a space both 
before and behind, of three inches wide, from the neck down, that was 
uncovered. No tattooing was seen on the face and arms. These 
natives soon showed that they were familiar and had had frequent 
intercourse with vessels, for on coming alongside, their first cry was 
for "rope." They had also a few Polynesian words of the different 
islands and groups that could be recognised, which they had obtained 
from the vessels that at different times had visited their island. 

Their own language was totally different, and none on board could 
comprehend it. 

When they arrived alongside, they made much clamour and many 
gesticulations, but refused to leave their canoes. After some enticing, 
one was induced to venture on board. They evidently comprehended 
that the vessel was of a different character from what they had been 
accustomed to see. The one who gained the deck showed much agi- 
tation, but when he saw the arm-chest opened and a musket taken 
out, his fears were too much for him, and he at once sprang over the 
stern into the water, and swam to his canoe. Others came on board, 
but they in their turn, were overcome in like manner, and took to 
their canoes. 

The arms and legs of a large proportion of the natives exhibited 
many scars, many of which were still unhealed. These had been 
made with shark's-teeth swords, such as were seen at the Depeyster 
Group, weapons which are calculated rather to make severe gashes 
than dangerous wounds. The spears are equally formidable, and four 
rows of shark's teeth are inserted in them ; some are of the uncommon 
length of twenty feet, but they are usually about eight or ten feet long, 
and have prongs projecting from their sides also armed with teeth. 
A drawing of these arms is given in the wood-cut at the end of the 

They were evidently in the habit of having severe conflicts with 

VOL. V. 13 



one another, and war seems to be one of the principal employments 
of this people. 

In order to guard against the destructive effect of these arms, they 
had invented a kind of armour, which was almost an effectual 
defence against their weapons, and accounted at once for their arms 
and legs being the only parts where scars were seen. This con- 
sisted of a sort of cuirass, covering the body as far down as the 
hips, and rising above the back of the head three or four inches. 
This, when taken off and set upon the deck, somewhat resembled a 
high-backed chair. It was made of plaited cocoanut-husk fibres, 
woven into as solid and compact a mass as if it had been made of 
board half an inch thick, and was as stiff as a coat of mail. For 
the legs and arms, they have also a covering of netted sennit of 
the same material, which they put on. That for the legs resembles 
a pair of overhauls, such as sailmakers use, with straps over the 
shoulders. The covering for the arms is drawn on in like manner. 



The appearance of the body was as if it were clothed in pantaloons 
and jacket of a deep brown colour. This they must find a very in- 
convenient covering for their hot climate. However singular the 
body-dress is, that of the head is still more so : it consists of the skin 
of the porcupine-fish, cut open at the head, and stretched sufficiently 
large to admit the head of a man. It is perfectly round, with the tail 


sticking upwards, and the two fins acting as a covering and guard 
for the ears : its colour is perfectly white, and by its toughness and 
spines affords protection against the native weapons. 

The ornaments which the natives wore, were strings of beads and 
human hair. The beads were strung alternately, black and white, 
and were made of shell and of cocoanut-wood. The strings of human 
hair resembled watch-guards, and some of them were of the size of 
packthread. Although the manufacture of this article must have been 
tedious, yet a great quantity of it was brought off, and bartered for 
some plugs of tobacco, and a few whales' teeth. Their mats, like- 
wise, constituted an ornament : they were slips of the pandanus 
braided, and some of these had been bleached, and were of a light 
straw-colour ; others were unbleached and brown : these were inter- 
woven together, so as to produce many kinds of figures, in squares, 
lozenges, and diamonds. They wore these folded twice, so as to form 
a triple thickness, which they passed over one shoulder as a scarf, or 
round the body, securing it with a cord of human hair ; the folds of 
this answered the purposes of pockets, for putting away the tobacco 
and other articles they had obtained by barter. In default of a mat, 
they used the lining or upper part of their hat or cap. These mats 
are about three feet wide by six long. 

Their chief desire was to obtain tobacco, of which they seem to be 
extravagantly fond ; it was their constant request, and whilst in their 
canoes alongside, or on deck, the cry was constantly " tebake." It 
was not begged as a gift; for, what appeared singular enough for 
South Sea islanders, they seemed to have no idea of receiving any 
thing as a gratuity, but instantly made a return of something for 
whatever was given them. So eager were they after it, that when 
one had put a piece in his mouth, others would seize him, and actually 
force it out of his mouth with their finsrers. 

Besides the mats, they had fans, fly-brushes, and baskets of dif- 
ferent sizes and shapes, with nets and hooks for fishing. Some had 
wigs, and others carved images, all of which were readily parted 
with for tobacco. Another article which was brought off for sale, 
was a kind of treacle, made from the sap of the cocoa-nut tree, which 
they had in cocoa-nut shells : into these they frequently thrust their 
fingers, and drawing them through their mouths, smacked their lips 
most significantly of its goodness. 

The canoes of these natives were different from those of any other 
islanders: their average length is from twelve to fifteen feet; they 



are from two to three feet deep, and vary from fifteen inches to two 
feet in width. Each canoe has six or eight timbers in its construc- 
tion ; they are well modelled, built in frames, and have much sheer. 
The boards are cut from the cocoa-nut tree, from a few inches to 
six or eight feet long, and vary from five to seven inches in width. 
These are arranged as the planking of a vessel, and very neatly put 
together, being sewed with sennit ; for the purpose of making them 
water-tight, they use a slip of the pandanus-leaf, inserted as our 
coopers do in flagging a cask. They have evinced much ingenuity 
in attaching the upright to the flat timbers, which are so secured as to 
have all the motion of a double joint, which gives them ease and com- 
parative security in a sea-way, and thus renders them capable of with- 
standing the waves. They use an out-rigger, much smaller than 
those of other islands, and the staging or platform covers less space. 
One of the sides is nearly flat, in which respect they resemble the 
proa of the Ladrones, as figured in Anson's Voyages. 


They are expert at managing their canoes, and seldom use their 
paddles, which are miserably made, of a piece of cocoa-nut board 
or tortoise-shell, about six inches square, attached to a round stick ; 
on this account they prefer using their sails. These are triangular, 
with an inclined or raking mast ; they are worked in sailing precisely 
as those described in the Feejee Islands, keeping the out-rigger always 
to windward, and tacking in the same way. Their masts are in two 
or three pieces, as well as the yards, and the whole construction shows 
that wood is exceedingly scarce, and that it is very difficult to procure 
enough of it ; as a cocoa-nut tree, of which they are made, will yield 
only two planks, in the mode in which they saw them out. One of 
the canoes, from the town of Utiroa, which came alongside the first 
day, was seen to be in part constructed from the bulwarks of a mer- 
chant vessel, which had some time before been wrecked ; probably of 
an English ship, as a wreck was reported to have been seen lying on 
the reef in the beginning of March, 1839. 

On the night of the 4th, they were set strongly by the current 


to the westward, and by morning were fifteen miles to leeward, and 
out of sight of the island. 

On the 5th, they succeeded in regaining their position. Many 
canoes came off, which continued increasing throughout the day, 
until at one time eighty were counted from the ship, some of which 
contained from ten to fifteen persons. Many of these ventured on 
board, and became satisfied of the friendly intentions towards them, 
though they still seemed to be under some apprehensions from the 
number of men on board and the size of the ship. The guns fired 
in the operation for surveying increased their alarm ; many jumped 
overboard at every discharge, and concealed themselves behind their 

In the afternoon, Captain Hudson on sounding found a bank on 
which he anchored, in fifteen fathoms water, at the distance of four 
miles from the island. 

The next morning, the tender was despatched, with two boats, 
under Lieutenants Emmons and De Haven, to continue the survey. 

On the 6th, soon after daylight, they had from thirty to forty canoes 
alongside with different articles of trade ; and ninety -two others were 
in sight from the deck, with from four to five natives in each. 

Early in the day, three boats were despatched for the town of 
Utiroa, to acquire a knowledge of the place and its inhabitants. In 
them were thirty men, well armed, which was thought to be a suffi- 
cient force to secure the officers and naturalists from any attack. 
Opposite to the town of Utiroa is a long flat, over which, at ebb 
tide, a boat will not float ; and, as it was low water, it became neces- 
sary to walk through the shallow to the beach, which was nearly a 
quarter of a mile distant. 

A very brisk trade was carried on for provisions and articles of 
curiosity. They had some small fish, which were much esteemed. 
The fowls offered for sale, as usual among the Polynesian islands, 
were all cocks, and proved old and tough. These were brought off 
in neat cages. 

Several women were among the crowd, with delicate features and 
a lively expression of countenance, but remarkably small. Their 
covering was a girdle, almost altogether of fringe fastened to a string, 
which was passed round the body. This garment had, at a distance, 
a more graceful look even than the " titi" of Samoa. This it obtains 
from being made pliable by steeping it in some peculiar mixture, 

VOL. V. 14 



which was thought by some of the officers to have the odour of tobacco 
and molasses. The women were much less tattooed than the men ; 
but, as at the other southern islands, in the same style with them. 

; .*.:<Sf1w^ 


The same custom was in vogue here that prevails at most of the 
Polynesian islands, of rubbing noses and exchanging names. 

Along the shore of this island, in front of the villages or towns, 
there are long lines of stone walls, from one to two feet high, serving 
as fish-weirs or pens. In passing to the shore, they saw a party of 
men and women engaged in driving a school of fish into one of them, 
with long lines fringed with pandanus-leaves, used like a seine, some- 
what resembling that before, described at Savaii : these fishers took no 
notice whatever of our party. 

When they had approached within one hundred yards of the 
beach, the natives came forward to meet them ; and within a short 
distance from the beach they passed a small, old, and dilapidated 
house, built on piles, about eight feet above the water : this old fabric, 
as we afterwards found, was made use of for telegraphic signals, in 
case of desiring assistance from their neighbours. 

The party were cordially received, both by the men and women, 
who did not hesitate to advance : all were uncovered, and the majority 
were women and children. Some of the women were the prettiest 


that had yet been seen in the South Sea islands; slender and grace- 
fully formed. Their complexion was of a clear brown, with full 
bright eyes, thick and glossy black hair; and they appeared by no 
means unconscious of their charms. 

The men became at once familiar and rude, seizing their arms and 
putting their own about the officers' necks, desiring to lead them 
onward, until they were obliged to use violence to keep them off. 

They reached the beach near what the natives termed their " ma- 
riapu," or council-house, one of the large buildings that had been 
before spoken of as visible from the sea. This stands in front of the 
town, on a broad wharf, made of coral stones, built out from the 
beach ; its dimensions, as measured, were one hundred and twenty 
feet long, by forty-five feet wide, and to the ridge-pole forty feet high. 
The ridge-pole was supported by five large posts, whence the roof 
sloped on each side and reached within three feet of the ground ; the 
rafters descended to a wall-plate, which rested on large blocks of 
white coral, and were also supported by smaller posts, ten feet in 
length, near the sides. At the ends, the roof was perpendicular for 
eight or ten feet, and then they sloped off in the same manner as the 
sides. The roof was thatched with pandanus-leaves. 

The crowd on the beach rapidly increased, pressing around, shout- 
ing, gesticulating, and catching hold of them, to express their joy at 
the visit ; at the same time stealing the tobacco they had brought to 
barter, which operation was performed very dexterously. 

No chiefs, however, came forward to receive them when they ad- 
vanced towards the mariapu, and entered, by passing under the roof. 
Many natives were inside, who closed around them, and set up a 
clamour that was deafening. The heat also was oppressive, and with 
the rancid oil on their bodies, was almost stifling. 

An old man soon made his appearance, whose deportment, and that 
of the crowd, pointed him out as the chief. He had, apparently, little 
actual authority, for his presence seemed to have no effect in silencing 
the natives. He pointed to the palisade around the town, whither he 
invited them at once to go, and conducted them to his house. Very 
few of the natives followed. On entering the palisade of slender 
stakes, the village was found to be divided into lots, containing ten 
or twelve houses, and enclosed by fences. Each of these enclosures, 
it was supposed, belonged to a separate family. 

The chief led the way to his house, and invited them to enter, 
which they did, and found its construction altogether different from 


any before seen in the South Seas. There was nothing remarkable 
in its exterior ; it was of oblong shape, and about sixteen feet wide by 
twenty feet long. The interior consisted of two stories, of which the 
lower was not more than three feet high, under the floor of the upper 
story. It was entered by a square hole at one side. The apartment 
above was rather a loft or garret, which was high, and contained, 
apparently, all the valuables and goods of the occupant. The floor 
was made of small pieces of pand anus-boards, laid on slender beams 
of cocoanut-wood. It was afterwards understood that this arrange- 
ment of apartments was to guard against the inroad of the rats. The 
lower apartment is used for sleeping, while the upper is entirely for 
storing their goods and chattels. The wall-plates rest on four beams 
of cocoanut-wood, which are supported by four posts, one at each 
corner. These posts are round, and perfectly smooth, so that the rats 
cannot climb them. The rafters and cross-pieces are mere poles, only 
an inch or two thick; the thatch is of pandanus-leaf, doubled over 
a slender stick, and tied down with sennit. 

After they were seated, cocoa-nuts, with treacle and water, were 
brought them to drink. They then requested the chief, whose name 
was Tama, to show them the fresh-water wells and taro-beds. Under 
his guidance, they passed through the village, which was situated on 
a narrow strip of the island, very close to the beach. Beyond it, 
towards the interior (if the term may be used of that which is but half 
a mile wide) of the island, was a cocoa-nut grove, extending to the 
sea. The tall cocoa-nut trees scattered about, with here and there 
small clumps of pandanus, gave it a cool and refreshing shade, and 
produced an agreeable impression. Paths wound in every direction, 
and were quite visible, in consequence of the absence of underbrush. 
The sandy soil offered only a scanty growth of dry grass (a Sida). 
Around the houses of the natives were found Cordias, Hibiscus, and 
Ficus ; but they were all of small growth. The Dracaena, of which 
the Samoans make the titi, was also seen. The taro-pits were dug to 
the depth of eight or ten feet, and were fifty feet long by thirty 
broad ; they were planted with taro and api, in rows : in the centre 
were a few 7 inches of water, and the whole earth was moist. The 
taro, however, w r as small, although the natives gave an account of its 
growing to the length of two feet. The wells were fifteen feet deep ; 
the water in them was brackish. These excavations have been made 
at much cost of time and labour. 

All the party on shore were much incommoded with the rudeness 


of the natives, who did all in their power to pilfer from them ; and, 
if their attention were diverted for a moment, the hands of a native 
were felt at their pockets. When detected, they would hold up their 
hands, with open palms, and laugh. This boldness was more espe- 
cially confined to a few, and one in particular, a young chief, who 
was a tall, good-looking person, but had a vain and impudent ex- 
pression of countenance, which was rendered disgusting by the kind 
of leprosy before spoken of. It is impossible to give a correct idea 
of the annoyances that our gentlemen were subjected to from the 
rudeness of some, the excess of civility of others, and the constant 
watchfulness that became necessary to avoid the pickpockets. An 
old man was about smearing himself in cocoanut-oil, with a cup full 
of salve, in which he would dip his fingers, and endeavour to rub 
them in their faces. This afforded much amusement to the party, 
while the natives seemed astonished that the attempt was repulsed ; 
for there was little doubt of its being intended as a great compliment 
thus to anoint their guests. 

In many instances they showed a disposition to get the officers into 
their power for some evil design. Messrs. Peale and Rich, who were 
both well armed, had crossed the island in search of birds, plants, and 
shells; on their return, they visited the town next adjoining to Utiroa, 
and but a short distance from it. On entering the town, their sus- 
picions were somewhat excited by the number of armed men around. 
Mr. Peale describes the natives as obliging them to sit down by 
forcing their legs from under them. These things were permitted to 
a certain extent, the natives all standing around armed ; but a 
promptness of action, and show of using their arms, extricated them 
from their difficulties. 

In front of the mariapa were three or four houses of the common 
size, one of which was called by the natives te-o-tabu, or sacred 
enclosure, but it was only distinguished by its being supported at the 
corners on blocks of coral. The natives were unwilling that any one 
should enter this enclosure. 

During the day, the greater part of the large number of natives they 
had seen, as in the case of those who came on board, were covered 
with scars, and the scurfy disease, or leprosy. Although the young 
women were quite pretty, the old were as remarkable for being 
hideous; of these, a few were seen to be afflicted with ophthalmia 
and elephantiasis.. The maro of the men, although large, was not 
intended to serve the purposes of decency, but principally for the 

VOL. V. 15 


protection of the abdomen. Their hair was trimmed short in front, 
but was allowed to grow long behind, where it tapered to a point ; 
in both sexes it was black and fine, with a slight tendency to curl. 

After returning to the mariapa, Tama was asked to give them an 
exhibition of a dance. This he endeavotired to do, but without 
receiving much attention. At length, the young chief, whom they 
had found particularly troublesome, came forward, with an insolent 
and swaggering air, wrapped a mat round his body, from the waist to 
the knees, and began a dance similar to that of the Polynesian 
islanders, before described, consisting of movements of the hands 
and body, but with very little motion of the feet. When the dance 
was "finished, the afternoon was far advanced ; the party then returned 
to the boats, which had now been able to draw near the beach, in 
consequence of the rise of the tide. On their way to the ship, the 
tiny canoes of the natives, with their small white triangular sails, 
were seen in all directions, coming to the shore. On board, it was 
believed that upwards of a thousand had visited the ship in the course 
of the day. 

On the afternoon of the 7th, a large party visited the town of 
Utiroa, equally well armed as the day before, and with the same 
instructions and cautions that no one should give cause of offence, 
and if any thing was offered for sale, to pay liberally for it. These 
precautions were enjoined, in consequence of the belief that the 
natives were a treacheroiis and dangerous set of fellows, and were 
inclined to believe themselves invulnerable in their armour. An 
opportunity had been taken, before a large number, to show them 
that the cuirass, &c, was not proof against our weapons at any dis- 
tance ; for which purpose one of the coats of mail was hoisted up at 
the yard-arm, and fired at : the holes were then exhibited, but did 
not seem to produce much effect upon them. They manifested a 
decided disposition for warlike pursuits, and ferocity was the most 
predominant trait in their character. 

On the party's landing, Captain Hudson moved towards the 
council-house, where they found a large concourse of people, most 
of them elderly men, who they were informed were the chiefs of 
the nation : they were directed to one corner, where sat the chief, 
whom they called Nea. He was a very decrepit old man, nearly 
bald, with shrivelled skin, and had a stare of vacant wonder; the 
nails of his fingers had grown to the length of an inch. His name 
was Pakorokoro. Some few presents were given him, but he took 


very little notice of them, appearing half stupified, and as soon as 
the articles were in his possession, they were snatched away by the 
bystanders, without the least shame or hesitation. 

The mariapa was a very large building, and in the interior its 
architecture showed to much advantage : the ridge-pole, with the 
rafters, were painted in black bands, with points, and ornamented 
with a vast number of ovula-shells. Chests, made of the thin laths of 
the pandanus, somewhat resembling cane, were arranged around, 
about twenty feet apart : these contained only a few mats and cocoa- 
nuts, things of no value, and are stipposed to be for the accommo- 
dation of visiters, or used at their feasts. The floor was in places 
covered with mats of the cocoanut-leaf. 

When the ceremony of reception was over, the natives appeared 
extremely desirous of separating the party, by leading them off in 
different directions, under the plea of showing them the town, and 
making them acquainted with some of the females. As soon as they 
were on the outside of the mariapa, they were surrounded by num- 
bers, and their pockets rifled of their contents in a short time. 

Captain Hudson, after they had been an hour and a half on shore, 
ordered all the officers and boats' crews down to the beach, being 
satisfied that it was quite time to depart, if he would prevent the 
collision which he had become apprehensive might take place. As 
they were assembling for the purpose of embarking, a noise was 
heard, resembling a sudden assault, from some of the houses near by, 
and on mustering the men, John Anderson, a seaman, was missing. 
Lieutenant "Walker and Passed Midshipman Davis were sent, each 
with a few men, in the direction whence the report proceeded, but 
they saw nothing of him, and all was quiet at the enclosure. The 
natives began now to assemble in large numbers, armed, and things 
looked somewhat serious ; for, as Passed Midshipman Davis returned 
to the beach, he was stoned, and one of the men received a severe 
blow. This was however borne without return. On inquiry, it was 
found that Anderson had been met but a few moments before the 
party was mustered. He was armed with a musket, pistol, and 
cutlass, and was esteemed one of the most correct and prudent men 
in the ship. The boats were now shoved off a short distance from 
the beach, and beyond the reach of the native arms, when several 
muskets were fired to notify him, and his name repeatedly called, 
which could have been heard in any part of the village; but no 
Anderson appeared. Captain Hudson finally came to the conclusion 
that he had either been enticed away by the women, or that the 


natives had detained him, in the hopes of receiving a ransom for his 
release, and that he would either return in one of the canoes to the 
ship, or be given up on a reward being offered. Under these impres- 
sions, he ordered the boats to return to the ship. Many of the officers 
were of the opinion that he had been murdered ; yet it was scarcely 
to be believed that they should have been enabled to overcome with- 
out noise a well-armed man, and one who had been cautioned against 
their treachery. After they had pushed off some distance, it was 
thought that a white man was seen on the beach; but on returning, it 
proved that they were mistaken. 

On the morning of the 8th, it became evident that something had 
taken place, for not a canoe came alongside before breakfast, which 
induced a general belief that Anderson had met with an untimely 
end at the hands of the natives. The people of the adjoining town 
of Eta, however, so far as they could be understood from their ges- 
tures and language, seemed to intimate that the man was on shore 
alive. Not a canoe, however, was recognised as belonging to the 
town of Utiroa. A message was (notwithstanding the two towns 
were at war) sent on shore, in hopes it would induce these savages 
to restore Anderson, telling them that if the znan was given back, a 
large present of tobacco would be paid for him. This was shown 
them, and every endeavour was made to ascertain his fate. On look- 
ing around among the natives, attention was called to one who was 
believed to belong to Utiroa. The eagerness with which this man was 
regarded by all, caused him so much alarm, that he at once sought 
flight in his canoe ; but he could not get his sail arranged, and was 
soon overtaken by one of the ship's boats. The countenance of the 
native, on being overtaken, was one of great fear. On finding he 
could not escape, it immediately changed to one the most amiable and 
friendly. He began by saying that the boat was good, the ship was 
good, and large, and all that was in her was good. Mr. Hale ex- 
plained to him what was required of him. It was difficult to ascertain 
that he understood these things at the time, for the native was in- 
clined to assent to every thing ; but Mr. Hale has since had reason to 
be satisfied from the words he used that the object in view, of obtain- 
ing Anderson, was well understood. 

The whole of the day was occupied in surveying, and connecting 
the work with that of the tender, which vessel, with the boats, had 
returned in the morning. The surveying boats, while engaged, were 
satisfied that the natives were disposed to be hostile. 

Their visiters during the day were all from the other parts of the 



island, and were unacquainted with the accident that had happened ; 
but on being informed of it, they made every endeavour to explain 
that they did not belong to the guilty town. There are fourteen 
towns on the island, as follows, beginning at the north, viz. : 


Muribama or Tenaiay 





Tauma, . 








Taku, . 






Tama and Moleia. 










Basing the calculation for the population of these towns on that of 
Utiroa, which is estimated at from one thousand to one thousand two 
hundred, it would give this small strip of land as great, if not a greater 
number of inhabitants per square mile, than any portion of the globe 
that relies upon its own resources for subsistence. 

The four northern towns are apparently united together, and hos- 
tile to the southern ones. Between Eta and Utiroa there is a consi- 
derable space uninhabited, which appeared to form a line of separation 
between their territories. 

Captain Hudson made up his mind that there could be little doubt, 
after so much time had elapsed without intelligence, and taking into 
view the conduct of the Utiroans, that Anderson had been treacher- 
ously murdered. He therefore believed it to be a paramount duty 
to punish them, not only for this perfidious act, but to secure their 
good conduct hereafter, in case of other vessels touching at this island. 

In consequence of this determination, the boats were prepared for 
landing, and Mr. Knox was ordered to anchor the tender in a position 
near the shore opposite the town, in order to protect them. 

The boat expedition, consisting of Lieutenants Emmons, Perry, and 
De Haven, Passed Midshipmen Davis, Harrison, and Mr. Freeman, 
the sailmaker, was put under charge of Mr. Walker, the first-lieu- 
tenant of the ship, and particular instructions given to him relative to 

VOL. v. 16 


his conduct. These will be found in Appendix III. Messrs. Peale, 
Hale, and Agate, accompanied the expedition. 

The expedition consisted of seven boats ; in them were embarked 
about eighty officers and men. About nine o'clock they approached 
the town. The first object that attracted attention was a column of 
smoke arising from the small building that stood on piles in front of 
the town, before spoken of. On arriving near the beach, the three 
divisions formed in a line abreast, according to the directions. Lieu- 
tenant Walker, with Mr. Hale, (who acted as interpreter,) now showed 
the white flag, and pulled in toward the beach in front, in order to 
hold a parley, make further inquiries relative to Anderson, and 
endeavour to have him given up, if alive. There were about five 
hundred natives, well armed, on the beach, and others were constantly 
coming in from all sides : they shouted and shook their weapons with 
threatening gestures. Many of them, however, seemed undecided how 
to act ; and their whole appearance, though formidable enough, was 
yet quite ludicrous in the eyes of the men, equipped as the savages 
were in their cumbrous coats of mail and fish-skin helmets. 

As the boat approached, several of the natives advanced towards it, 
preceded by a chief fully equipped in armour, and holding a spear in 
his right hand. Mr. Hale then explained the object they had in view, 
and showed the large quantity of tobacco which they had brought for 
a ransom. The chief appeared to understand, and pointed to the 
shore, making signs at the same time for them to come in. The 
savages who attended the chief had now increased in numbers, and 
were close to the boat, while the whole body was advancing slowly 
forwards. Finding that it was not only useless but dangerous to con- 
tinue the parley, the boat was pulled back into line. 

Having thus failed to procure the desired end, the most humane 
manner of effecting their punishment was conceived to be at once to 
show them the power of our arms, and sacrifice some of the most 
prominent among the savages. Lieutenant Walker, therefore, re- 
quested Mr. Peale, the best shot of the party, to give them a proof of 
it, and thus prevent the farther effusion of blood. This was accord- 
ingly done by singling out one of the foremost, and a rocket was also 
discharged, which took its flight towards the great body of them. 
The latter missile caused great confusion, and many of them turned 
to seek the shore, but their terror did not last long, and they made 
another stand, brandishing their spears and weapons as if bent 
upon a trial of strength with their opponents; the falling of their 


chiefs was disregarded, and few seemed to consider the effects pro- 
duced, except those who were wounded. A general volley soon 
followed, which caused them all to retreat, some in great haste, while 
others moved more slowly towards the shore, seeming to be but little 
impressed as to the character of our arms. The wounded and dead 
were all carried off. The boats now pushed in for the beach, and by 
the time they had reached it, there was not a native of the whole 
host to be seen. 

The three divisions then landed, and the first and second proceeded 
to fire the mariapu and town, while the third remained to guard the 
boats. The whole was soon in a blaze, and but a short time sufficed 
to reduce it to ashes. The natives were still to be seen in small 
parties, out of reach of the guns, among the cocoa-nut groves. After 
the work of destruction had been effected, the divisions again returned 
to the boats. The. place now exhibited a very different picture from 
that it had presented only a short hour before. The blackened sites 
were all that remained of the former dwellings, the council-house was 
entirely in ashes, the fences were torn down, and the cocoa-nut trees 

The tide having fallen, three bodies were found, one of whom was 
the young chief who had been so troublesome and insolent to our 
gentlemen, and who it was believed had been active in the murder of 
poor Anderson. 

While the party were getting ready to embark, a small party of 
natives were seen coming towards them from Eta; these were all 
unarmed, and had cocoanut-leaves and mats tied round their necks : 
they had come to assure our party of their good-will, and their joy at 
the destruction of Utiroa. One old man in particular repeated fre- 
quently his assurances, with much laughter and many grimaces. No 
sooner had they ascertained that the intentions towards them were 
not hostile, than they began to pillage the burning town. 

The number of houses destroyed was supposed to be about three 
hundred, besides upwards of a dozen large canoes. The loss of life 
was twelve on the part of the natives : there was no one injured on 
our side. 

From the fact that the natives had left every thing in their dwell- 
ings, it was clear that they did not anticipate the fate that was to befall 
them ; that they were in hopes of being able to cut off our boats, and 
perhaps flattered themselves with the prospect of an indiscriminate 
plunder. This would be in perfect accordance with their customs 


and constant practice of attempting to cut off all vessels or boats that 
may visit their islands. Although I have no reason to come to this 
conclusion from our own knowledge respecting this island, yet from 
all the accounts of those who have resided some time among like 
savages, their first idea is always to capture or possess themselves of 
the vessel or any of the boats. We have seen that this is put in 
practice among the Feejees, and others, who formerly regarded all 
vessels wrecked as sent to them as a gift from the gods. 

Very few articles escaped the general conflagration, but of these 
some were brought off to the ship ; among which were two skulls, 
that had been well polished and cleaned. These were found in the 
loft of one of their houses, and had evidently been preserved, with 
great care, as relics. 

There are but few domestic animals on this island : a dog, two or 
three cats, and a few fowls, were all that were seen. Rats are in 
abundance, as has been shown by the care the natives take to protect 
their lofts from these very troublesome creatures. 

The food of the inhabitants consists principally of fish, cocoa-nuts, 
the fruit of the pandanus, taro, and api ; to these may be added 
tobacco. They have but few modes of dressing these articles. The 
fruit of the pandanus they use as food, which was considered by the 
natives as a great delicacy ; it may be said to be exceedingly coarse, 
so much so, that the fibres of the pandanus are seen in their excre- 
ment in great quantities; even the husks of the young cocoa-nuts 
are eaten. 

No land-birds were seen but curlews, golden plovers, turnstones, 
noddies, and white terns ; many whales' bones were strewed over the 

This was the first place where they had observed the tridachna 
gigas : they were of enormous size ; the natives used them for troughs, 
for many purposes, around their houses. 

Necklaces of human teeth were also prized, and brought off for 

During the day of the 9th, the thermometer stood in the sun at 
159° Fahrenheit. 

The character of these islanders is the most savage of any that we 
met with ; their ferocity led to the belief that they were cannibals, 
although no positive proofs were seen of it. They are under no 
control whatever, and possess little of the characteristic hospitality 
usually found in savage nations. It was observed also that their 


treatment of each other exhibited a great want of feeling, and in 
many instances, passions and propensities indicative of the lowest 
state of barbarism. Their young girls were offered to be disposed of, 
by their fathers and brothers, alongside the ship, openly, and without 
concealment ; and to drive a bargain for them, was one of the prin- 
cipal objects of their visits to the ship. 

Among their weapons, they have a short spear, which is armed 
with half a dozen barbs from the tail of the raja or stingray, which is 
supposed to prove mortal, if broken off in the wound. They have 
also a club, about four feet long, made from the cocoanut-wood, 
which is pointed at each end ; it is used for warding off a spear, to 
make a thrust, or wielded as a club. 

In the use of tobacco, they are truly disgusting, for they eat it and 
swallow it, with a zest and pleasure indescribable. Their whole 
mind seems bent upon obtaining this luxury, and consequently it will 
command their most valuable articles. 

They are, to all appearance, a lawless race, and no sort of govern- 
ment seems to control them ; all seize upon whatever property they 
can, and, as has been before mentioned, the very chiefs themselves 
were subject to the same treatment that they observed towards our 
party ; the greatest villains and bullies among them seemed to have 
the most control ; while the chiefs had little more than nominal autho- 
rity, and if they had any privileges, they did not seem to extend 
beyond their small enclosures. 

There is neither wood nor water to be obtained at this island, and 
no inducement to visit it, except to trade for a few cocoa-nuts and 

Good whaling-ground exists in the vicinity, and our whalemen are 
in the habit of cruising in this neighbourhood : those who visit these 
wretches ought to keep a constant guard against treachery, for their 
numbers are large, and they are prone to mischief. All intercourse 
with them* should, therefore, be conducted with great caution, espe- 
cially in ships weakly manned. 

It is to be hoped that the punishment inflicted on Utiroa for the 
murder of Anderson will be long remembered, and prove a salutary 
lesson to the numerous and thickly-peopled towns of Taputeouea, or 
Drummond's Island. 

On the same evening, (the 9th,) they weighed anchor, and on the 
next day made Bishop's or Sydenham Island, which they surveyed 
the following day. 

VOL. V. 17 


Off the north point of Bishop's Island, there is a shoal extending 
one and a half miles to the northward and westward, the water on 
which is discoloured, and where the Peacock found nine fathoms. 
The native name for Bishop's or Sydenham Island, is Nanouti; it lies 
in latitude 00° 36' S., and longitude 174° 24' E. ; it is of coral forma- 
tion, and a mere ledge of land, like Drummond's Island, with a 
lagoon, reef, and bank, on its lee or southwest side. The survey 
made it nineteen miles long, trending northwest and southeast, and 
its width, including lagoon and reef, eight and a half miles. On the 
southwest and northwest portions of it, there is a coral bank, from one 
to one and a half miles beyond the reef, on which there is ten fathoms 
water. At the distance of four miles from the northwest end of the 
island, they found soundings in two hundred and sixty-five fathoms. 

The island is partially covered with cocoa-nut, pandanus, and 
other trees ; and the islets of which it is formed are nearly continuous, 
connected by the usual coral reef. They had no communication 
with the natives of Nanouti. A daily intercourse is kept up between 
it and the Drummond Islanders. It was thought there was no 
difference in their characters. The distance between them is but 
fifteen miles. 

From the north point of this island, there was a small island in 
sight, which was at first supposed to be Duperrey's Isle du Nord; but 
if it be, instead of being located to the northward, as he has placed 
it, it bears nearly south of the north extreme of Nanouti. They 
found, on proceeding towards it, that it was a hummock, connected 
by a reef with Nanouti ; but no Sable Island could be seen. The 
tender passed round the opposite side of Nanouti, and did not see 
any island ; and the officers of both vessels are fully convinced that no 
Sable Island exists. 

On the night of the 10th, they had much thunder and lightning, 
with a heavy swell from the northeast. 

At daylight on the 11th, they made Henderville Island, called by 
the natives Nanouki. The weather was too unfavourable to proceed 
with the survey. Simpson or Harbottle, Hopper, and Woodle Islands, 
were in sight. The weather continued stormy, with heavy thunder 
and lightning. 

On the 12th, they succeeded in surveying Henderville Island, and 
connected it with Woodle Island. Towards night they again had 
stormy weather, with the wind from the eastward. Henderville 
Island was determined to be in latitude 00° 11' 00" N., and longitude 


173° 39' 20" E. This island is six and a half miles long, east and 
west, and five and a half miles wide at the east end, diminishing to 
two miles at the west end : it is of coral formation. There are two 
towns on the west end, and several on the east and southeast parts, 
and it is thickly inhabited. The natives who came on board said 
that the two ends of the island were at war with each other. They 
are very much the same in appearance as the natives of Drummond's 
Island ; were naked, and spoke the same dialect. These natives knew 
of the islands in their immediate vicinity, as well as the direction of 
Taputeouea, or Drummond's Island, and gave them the name of being 
inhabited by a savage and hostile people. This island affords neither 
wood, water, nor refreshments : from appearances, its inhabitants 
must be at times much stinted for food. They brought off nothing 
except a few cocoa-nuts ; but the object of their errand was not to be 
misunderstood, for in each canoe there was a woman, which I think 
does not speak much in the praise of the whalers or other ships that 
frequent this cruising-ground. While on board, one of the natives 
gave them an exhibition of a dance, which was different from those 
before seen, inasmuch as it consisted of a variety of motions and 
moving from one place to another, in quick steps, and in throwing 
about the arms, with many contortions of the body, and vehement 
gesticulations. The dance was accompanied with a kind of song or 
chaunt, consisting of the monotonous repetition of words, uttered in 
a short, quick, and distinct tone ; each dance was finished with an 
outstretched hand, and an earnest cry of te-ba-ke. 

It was next determined to survey Hall's Island, called by the 
natives Maiana, as the fair wind and the night would enable Captain 
Hudson to accomplish it and return to complete that of Woodle Island, 
or Kuria. Maiana is of coral formation ; the northeast and southeast 
parts are continuous land, whilst to the southwest and northwest it 
consists of a reef and bank, in some places awash, with a sand- 
spit in its lagoon. The western sides of the island are therefore 
very dangerous, and should be approached with caution, as the sea 
seldom breaks on them, and the discoloration of the water is not 
at all times to be observed. The natives of this island have the same 
appearance as those already spoken of, and use the same dialect : 
only one canoe came off, and held a short communication with the 
ship. The island appears to be thickly inhabited, but its natives 
have had little intercourse with the whites. It affords neither re- 
freshments, wood, nor water. The survey makes this island nine 
miles long, in a northeast and southwest direction, and six miles in 


width, in a southeast and northwest direction : it is situated in lati- 
tude 00° 56' 45" N., and longitude 173° 04' 15" E. On its west side, 
on some of the banks, there is anchorage in from ten to fifteen fathoms 
of water. 

On the morning of the 15th, they made the island of Apamama, 
the Hopper Island of Duperrey, and the Simpson's Island of the 
charts of Arrowsmith. It is about five feet above the surface of the 
ocean ; is ten miles long, northwest and southeast, and five miles in 
width, north and south. The land is continuous on the north and 
east sides, excepting two small strips of bare reef. There is anchorage 
on the west side in an opening between the reef and the northwest 
point of the island, which is about two miles wide. The soundings 
vary from two to five fathoms : across it, in some places, the bottom is 
broken coral ; in others, it is coral sand. The entrance to the lagoon, 
although feasible, should not be attempted through this passage ; but 
there is a good passage into it on the southeast side of the island, 
which is a mile wide. A survey was made of this island, and its 
anchorages examined. The boats when ashore communicated with 
the natives, who resemble those of the adjacent islands. There is a 
large population on it, but it yields little more than will supply their 
wants. A small quantity of fresh water may be had by digging on 
the beaches : wood and refreshments are not procurable for shipping. 

This island is situated in latitude 00° 27' 21" N., and longitude 
173° 57' 30" E. : it has heretofore been represented as two islands on 
the charts, called on one Simpson's, and the other Hopper and Har- 
bottle ; but there is only one, joined by the same reef. 

They next returned to Kuria or Woodle's Island. 

On the 16th, while engaged in the survey, some canoes came off 
to the ship, when the natives came on board without hesitation, — 
an evidence of their having had communication with ships, and 
their confidence of good treatment. It was soon reported, that a 
white man was coming off to the ship ; and, as in all such cases, 
he was looked for and watched with great interest, and various 
surmises were made relative to his origin and history. They were 
not long left in doubt, for before he reached the deck, his voice be- 
spoke him an Irishman. He was dressed in a pair of duck trousers 
and red flannel shirt, and announced himself as " John Kirby, a 
deserter from the English whale-ship Admiral Cockburn." He said 
he had been on the island for three years ; that he was living with 
the daughter of the principal chief; and solicited a passage to some 
civilized place. 


The principal chief of the island, with his daughter, whom Kirby 
had for a wife, came on board with him. They both seemed deeply 
affected, when they learned that he had received permission to remain 
on board, and was about to leave them ; and both endeavoured to dis- 
suade him from going. 

His wife showed much concern, and wished to accompany him : the 
old chief, her father, endeavoured to persuade him to take her. Find- 
ing she could not prevail, she requested as a parting gift, an old 
jack-knife, the only property he had left to give. Several presents 
were made to her by the officers and men, which reconciled her 
somewhat to her lot. The natives all left the ship much gratified, 
excepting Kirby 's wife, who continued to be somewhat downhearted. 

Kirby proved an intelligent man : he understood the language, and 
was well acquainted with the character, manners, and customs of the 
islanders, among whom he had lived from the 11th of February, 1838, 
to the 15th of April, 1841. His presence in the ship afforded Captain 
Hudson an opportunity, not only of communicating with the natives 
more freely, but of obtaining much interesting information relative to 
this group. 

Kuria or Woodle Island, has four towns on it, which Kirby esti- 
mates to contain between four and five thousand inhabitants. Its 
geographical position is in latitude 0° 14' 30" N., longitude 173° 27' 
00" E. : its greatest length is five miles, northwest and southeast; 
and its greatest width, which is at the southeast end, is two and a 
half miles. It is very narrow, and almost divided towards the centre. 
The northwest portion has two small lagoons, two or three hundred 
yards from the beach ; the water in them is not so salt as the ocean. 
In one of them, the bottom consists of red mud on one side, while 
it is a white clay on the other. They are used as fish-ponds by the 
chiefs. There is a reef extending to the northwest nearly three 

The island is but partially clothed with trees, consisting of cocoa- 
nut, pandanus, and a few stunted bread-fruit. It has no outer reef, 
and may be approached very closely. It affords neither wood, water, 
nor refreshments. The natives who visited the ship brought off very 
little for trade : fish-hooks and lines, small mats, cocoa-nut syrup, and 
a few cocoa-nuts, composed their whole stock. 

The females that accompanied the canoes wore the maro, and were 
thought to be better-looking than the others of the group ; but their 

VOL. V. 18 


whole manner was in keeping with the purposes for which their 
fathers and brothers had brought them off. 

No war implements were seen ; the men, who were naked, re- 
sembled the others of the group, except that they did not appear so 
much disfigured by scars. 

Kirby states, that on the first night of his landing, they stripped 
him of every thing but an old pair of trousers, after which he was 
conducted to a great conclave of natives, assembled around a large 
fire, which he then believed was intended to roast him. He had 
fortunately gone on shore in the highest chief's canoe, and placed 
himself under his protection, as well as he knew how. After some 
considerable talk, instead of being roasted, he was furnished with a 
wife, and taken to reside with his friend, the principal chief, who, 
with the rest of the natives, ever after treated him kindly. After a 
few months' residence in the family of the chief, he gave his own 
daughter to Kirby for a wife. The result of this was much jealousy 
and envy between his first wife, of common origin, and his last, of 
high rank, until the former was ousted and sent back to her parents, 
leaving the chief's daughter in quiet possession of the house. 

During Kirby's residence on the island, several English, and one 
American whaler, had been off the island, on which occasions he had 
been employed as pilot and interpreter. The natives were constantly 
asking him, after their departure, why he " did not fool the vessels 
and run them on shore, that they might plunder them." One of the 
above vessels left two pigs, two goats, and a pair of Muscovy ducks ; 
but no sooner had the vessel left, than they killed them all, from 
some superstitious fears, and threw them into the sea, notwithstand- 
ing all Kirby's remonstrances and entreaties to have them spared, 
and allow him to eat them. 

Kirby says that the natives, though not professed cannibals, some- 
times eat human flesh ; but their food is generally fish. They do not 
eat fowls, and will not raise pigs, on account of their filth. Their 
treacle is extracted from the spathas of the cocoa-nut trees, an opera- 
tion which, if frequently repeated, destroys the tree. They are very 
fond of cock-fighting. 

The conduct of foreigners who visit these islands is sometimes of a 
most outrageous character. Instances of this kind are daily occur- 
ring, a number of which came to my knowledge ; and the following 
occurrence it seems to me is of a character that ought to be made 



public, in order to bring such conduct, and the persons who are guilty 
of it, to the notice of their own nation. 

Some four or five months before the Peacock's visit, Kirby states 
that one Leasonby, master of the whale-ship Offley, of London, and 
whose mate was an American, named Lake, landed six young girls 
on this island, whom he had obtained at Peru, or Francis Island. 
After having kept them on board several days, he brought them here 
to save himself the trouble of beating his vessel up to the island to 
which they belonged. 

These young girls were extremely good-looking, and are now slaves 
to the chief of this island, and made to labour and satisfy his lusts. 
They were landed on Kuria, in despite of their entreaties and tears. 
These people are in the habit of killing all strangers from islands not 
connected with their immediate group ; but the lives of these girls 
were spared, and they were retained in bondage. Two of them were 
brought off to the ship, who entreated most earnestly to be kept on 
board, and to be carried to their home. The engraving is made from 
Mr. Agate's drawing of one of them. 


The published charts of these islands were found so inaccurate, as 
to be a cause of danger rather than of safety ; for in them the islands 
are multiplied, and every hummock or detached islet on the same reef 
is represented as separate, and a name assigned it. Thus a confusion 
exists, that it is almost impossible to unravel. How so many errors 
could be committed, can only be accounted for by the fact that those 


who had the publication of the charts formerly were generally igno- 
rant, and did not take that care to sift and examine the information 
that was essential to accuracy. 

Several islands are laid down here on the different charts, but 
those only really exist which are named Tarawa, or Knox Island ; 
Apia, or Charlotte Island ; and Maraki, or Matthew's Island. 

Tarawa, or Knox Island, is in length twenty miles, trending north- 
west and southeast. The land is continuous and wooded, with the 
exception of four gaps, where the reef is bare. The south side is 
twelve miles long, and trends nearly east and west. On this part, 
near the western end, are three hummocks (which appear like islands 
in the distance), and several small sand-banks, which are connected by 
the same reef. This island has its lagoon, but it has the appearance 
of an extensive bay, in consequence of the reef on the west side being 
a sunken one, on which is found five fathoms of water. 

This island is partially wooded, having several groves of cocoa- 
nut trees on it, and a dense undergrowth. Several towns were seen 
on it, and it appeared to be thickly inhabited. It affords no supplies 
for vessels. Three canoes came off to the ship, two of which kept 
at a respectful distance, while the third approached with great cau- 
tion. Some few pieces of iron hoops enticed the natives on board, 
but they brought nothing for trade, except half a dozen cocoa-nuts. 
They stated that they had never seen a vessel before. This may 
be true, but appeared somewhat incredible, when they are so near 
other islands which have had constant intercourse with shipping. 
They appeared entirely ignorant of the use of tobacco, which it will 
be recollected the other natives coveted so much ; and what seemed 
to confirm the belief in the truth of their assertion of the visits of 
ships, was the absence of females in the canoes, which had been with 
the natives of the other islands so prominent an article of barter. 

They seemed delighted with the pieces of old iron, and regarded 
junk-bottles with admiration. They are entirely the same in appear- 
ance, and in character and customs, with the rest ; they go naked, and 
speak the same dialect. 

Tarawa lies in latitude 1° 29' 00" N., and longitude 173° 05' 00" 
E., and is of coral formation. 

Until the 24th, they were engaged in the survey of Apia, or Char- 
lotte Island. This consists of strings of coral islets, situated within a 
reef, which is six and seven feet above the water. The reef has a 
bluff front, and is much worn by the sea. There is no coral sand. 


Apia was found to be in latitude 1° 52' 00" N., and 173° 02' 00" 
E. It is a lagoon island. Its length in the direction of northeast 
and southwest is sixteen miles, and its average breadth five. On the 
east side of the island the land is covered with cocoa-nut and pan- 
danus groves, with some undergrowth. The northwest and west 
side is a continuous reef, four or five feet above the water's edge, on 
which are many islets. About the centre of the reef, on the south- 
west side, is a ship's channel into the lagoon, which is half a mile 
wide. Near its entrance is a small islet, which stands alone, and is 
a good mark for the entrance. There is no island in the lagoon, as 
shown on the French charts of Duperrey. 

This island would appear to be thickly inhabited, from the number 
of towns on it. Several canoes came off to the ship, which were 
similar in construction to the others we had seen. Their stock of 
articles for trade was, as usual, scanty. There was but one woman 
seen, and she proved as ugly as those previously met with had been 
pleasing in their looks. They speak the same dialect, and are the 
same people, although their intercourse seems to have been very much 
confined to themselves. At the islet near the entrance to the lagoon, 
about sixty gallons of water were obtained from the native well, but 
it was flat and brackish. No other supplies can be procured at this 

"When the boats landed at the islet, the natives were in great alarm, 
and fled ; but, reassured by the calls of Kirby, they returned, and their 
fears were effectually quieted by a few presents. 

It was ascertained that their knowledge of other islands only ex- 
tended to Tarawa, or Knox's Island, and two others. To one of these 
they pointed in a direction west of north, and called it Maraki, — 
Matthew's Island; and the other Taritari and Makin, which they 
said were two days' sail, and which was believed to be Pitt's Island. 

In the centre of the little village was one of the sacred stones, 
which was described by Kirby as an object of worship. It consisted 
of a flat slab of coral rock, about three feet high and two wide, set up 
on end and dressed with a thick wreath of cocoanut-leaves. It was 
placed in the centre of a circular platform of sand and pebbles, about 
nine feet in diameter, raised five or six inches above the soil, and sur- 
rounded by a ring of stones. At the foot of the coral slab were 
several large cocoa-nuts, placed there as an offering to the divinity, 
whom the natives styled Tabu-eriki. The wood-cut at the end of the 
next chapter is a drawing of one. The priest, a young man, with a 

VOL. V. 19 


mild and intelligent countenance, remained constantly near the stone, 
never quitting the platform for a moment. The houses were built 
like those of Drummond Island, but the scuttles into the lofts were 
much larger, occasionally occupying half the dividing floor. In some 
of the houses there were two or three floors or stages, the second 
about two feet above the first. 

In the survey of this island the tender got aground inside the 
lagoon. The moment that it was discovered by the natives that the 
vessel was on shore, they began to flock around her, and were only 
kept off by being fired at. Lieutenant Emmons did not join her with 
the boats till after dark, when he found her situation such as to require 
great vigilance on the part of the officers and men to preserve her. 
She had taken the coral reef at high water, and the tide was rapidly 
falling, leaving her on her bilge, and rendering her guns of no use 
for protection. The natives were making signals by burning fires, 
blowing war-conchs, and evincing every disposition to attack her. 

Captain Hudson, who observed the situation of the tender at sunset, 
determined to keep the Peacock close to the island throughout the 
night, to be near at hand to despatch boats in case of signal being 
made that they required more aid, should the natives show a disposi- 
tion to make an attack, and overpower the, force that had already gone 
to the tender's assistance. The Peacock was hove-to, with a moderate 
breeze blowing, and from the fires seen during the night they be- 
lieved themselves close to the position they had taken at sunset. At 
daylight, while lying-to, they drifted on a coral sand-bank, where the 
ship was aground for a few minutes only. Their surprise was great 
when they found that it was Tarawa or Knox's Island, on which they 
were ashore, on its northwest side, and that they had drifted fully 
twelve miles bv current to the southward during the night. On board 

j DO 

of the tender every preparation was made to receive the savages, as it 
was anticipated that the attack would be made at early daylight. 
They were not mistaken in this, for at that time the natives were 
seen in great numbers, but just then fortunately the tender floated. 
The natives continued, however, to approach boldly until within 
musket-shot, when they were motioned to keep off, which they dis- 
regarded. The headmost canoe having struck its sail for the purpose 
of closing alongside, Lieutenant Emmons fired his rifle, aiming so 
that the ball should pass close by the head of the steersman : this 
alarmed him so much that he immediately jumped overboard, and 
was followed by all the rest. The remaining canoes now kept off, 


but continued to follow the tender until she left the lagoon, which 
she did by the passage through which she had entered. When the 
natives found that the prize had escaped them, they became outra- 
geous, making use of many violent gesticulations at the disappoint- 
ment they had experienced. 

The next island that claimed their attention was Maraki, or Mat- 
thew's Island. It is much smaller than the two last, and situated 
in latitude 2° 00' 00" N., and longitude 173° 25' 30" E. It is a 
lagoon island, without entrances, and of coral formation. It is but 
five miles long, north-by-east and south-by-west, and two and a half 
wide at its base, being of triangular shape. 

It appears to be densely peopled, for many villages were seen, and 
after dark a lame number of fires were burning-. 

A canoe ventured alongside, in which was one of the natives, of an 
herculean frame, and calling himself a chief. When asked how 
many people they had on the island, he replied, as many as were on 
board the ship. As all hands were on deck, it is supposed that his 
simile was equivalent to a multitude. 

The persons in this canoe were exceedingly desirous of getting old 
iron hoops : they did not remain a long time on board, and seemed to 
be uneasy. After they had obtained these small presents, they quietly 
abandoned the ship, and on getting into their canoes, soon plied the 
paddles in such a" manner as showed that they were quite anxious to 
get out of reach, seemingly congratulating themselves upon their 
miraculous escape. Their dialect and customs were the same as 
those of the rest of the group. 

On the 27th, the Peacock left Matthew's Island to look for Pitt's 
Island, which they made on the 28th, at 9 a. m. On the 29th, the 
weather permitted the survey to be made. 

There are two islands known under this name : the largest is called 
by, the natives Taritari, and the smallest Makin. The latitude of the 
southern point of Taritari is 3° 08' 00" N., longitude 172° 48' 00" E. 
This island is of the figure of a triangle, with its apex to the south, 
and its sides are about fourteen miles in length. The southeast side 
is a continuous grove of cocoa-nut and pandanus, with some under- 
growth ; on the other two sides is a reef, which is awash, excepting 
the northwest point, in which there is a small inlet. 

Makin is of much smaller dimensions, being but six miles long : 
it varies in width from half a mile to a mile. Its northern point lies 
in latitude 3° 20' 43" N., and longitude 172° 57' 00" E. This small 


island is the seat of government, and the natives now unite both 
names under the one of Makin. 

It was soon evident that the island was thickly inhabited ; for when 
the ship reached the lee side, in the afternoon, about twenty canoes 
came off, containing from five to ten natives in each, and in one of 
them was a white man, who was clothed in mats. The ship was im- 
mediately hove-to to take him on board, and he gave his name as 
Robert Wood (alias Grey), a Scotchman by birth, who was left by 
his own wish on the island, seven years before, by the English 
whaling brig Janie, of London, sailing from Sydney. He was under 
so great excitement as to render his utterance quite unintelligible at 
times, and some amusing scenes took place in consequence. On his 
reaching the deck, he first inquired if he would be permitted to go on 
shore again ; and then, who was king of England ; if there was peace 
with America ; for he had thought there must be a war. He had seen 
no white men since he landed, and said that he had become old and 
grayheaded. To prove the latter assertion he pulled off his apology 
for a hat, and displayed a most luxuriant growth of jet-black hair. 

He had not been on board long before he asked for a passage to 
some civilized land ; and when he was informed that his wishes 
would be gratified, he seemed for a time beside himself from excess 
of joy. His feelings were evinced on his endeavours to interpret the 
questions to the natives ; he almost invariably repeated to them what 
was said to him in English, in the same language; and gave back 
their answers or expressions in the island dialect. This had a droll 
effect, and he had frequently to be reminded that he was an inter- 

Wood says, that the natives had always treated him kindly ; and 
for the first few months after his arrival among them, they carried 
him about on their shoulders (he was the first white man that many 
of them had ever seen), and almost deified him. They have no wars, 
and very few arms, and seldom quarrel, except about their women. 
The punishment of death is inflicted on those who infringe the 
seraglio of the chiefs. 

In the short intercourse the Peacock had with the natives of this 
island, a great difference was perceptible between them and those of 
the other islands, as well in respect to their appearance, as in 
character. Their features were regular, and by some thought hand- 
some ; they had fine teeth, with glossy black hair flowing in ringlets 
about their heads ; they were also of a lighter colour than the rest of 



the natives with whom they are grouped ; their figures are, for the 
most part, rotund, and they seem to have an abundance of food to 
become fat upon. In walking, they appeared like a moving mass of 
jelly ; every laugh set not only their sides in motion, but their whole 
frame and flesh. On being asked how these people became so fat, 
Wood replied, they had plenty of food and " toddy" to fatten upon : 
this last is a syrup, called by the natives "karaca," made from the sap 
of the young cocoa-nut trees : of this they drink immoderately. They 
wear mustaches and whiskers, which are highly prized and carefully 
nursed among them. They had a good-humoured cast of counte- 
nance, and seemed peaceable and full of kindness. No scars were 
seen on their bodies, neither had they any warlike instruments with 
them. All the little casualties which so often affected the harmony of 
the natives before, here produced no sort of disturbance ; and each 
was inclined to render the other assistance in repairing the accidents. 


The men are very handsomely tattooed, of which the above cut 
will give a correct idea. On their reaching the ship, they appeared 
to put the fullest confidence and reliance in the treatment they were 
to receive, although, according to Wood, they had seen but one vessel 
during his residence on the island, and consequently it could not be 
from the habit of intercourse, but must have been a natural feeling. 

VOL. V. 20 


There was no begging, no attempt to steal, as among all the other 
natives of the group ; but Wood gives them credit for the latter pro- 
pensity among themselves on shore. 

Their canoes are larger and better built than those of the southern 
islands, and made of different wood ; and they are better supplied 
with masts and paddles, but still of nearly the same shape : the side 
of the canoe opposite to the out-rigger, was much less curved than the 
other, resembling more the "flying proa" of the Ladrone Islands. 

Polygamy is common among them; and Wood stated that some of 
the principal chiefs and landholders have from twenty to fifty wives : 
the king even exceeded this number; while the poorer class and 
slaves are doomed to perpetual celibacy. The consequences of this 
state of society may readily be imagined to produce illicit intercourse 
among the lower classes. 

The women are well treated ; never offered for traffic, but on the 
contrary, are held sacred : and in order to restrain any unlawful in- 
dulgence on the part of his wives, his majesty has at times had some 
of them sewed up in mats ! Wood represented the women as out- 
numbering the men, and said they were very handsome. There are 
five towns on the island, which, according to the authority of Wood, 
contain about five thousand inhabitants. 

The king, whose name was Tekere, came off to the ship. He 
was a fine-looking man ; but his corpulency was great, and appeared 
to trouble him not a little : it was utterly impossible for him to get 
up the side of the ship, and he therefore contented himself with being 
paddled round it. His father, the former king, Jakintebuat, came 
on board, with several of his sons, all of whom had a strong family 
likeness. He appeared about sixty years old ; and although a little 
bald, he had no other appearance of age, either in his looks or the 
firmness of his step. 

When the vessels had made sail, in order to leave the island, and 
it was supposed that all the natives had left the ship, one was found 
hanging to the man-ropes near the water. Wood, on questioning the 
native, found that he was a petty chief, who wished to accompany the 
ship, and had taken this means of doing it, hoping not to be perceived 
until he was out of sight of his island. He said he was too poor a 
chief to have any wives, and therefore wished to leave his island, 
and be landed on some other, where he could obtain some. Captain 
Hudson had a boat lowered at once, by which he was put on board a 
canoe, that took him to the shore. 



Two or three of the officers landed for a short time, but saw nothing 
except a few fishing huts. Under the eaves of the huts, large shells 
of the Tridachna gigas were placed to catch water. The entrance 
into the lagoon has four and a half fathoms water, and is about one- 
third of a mile in width. 

Mr. Peale found no quadrupeds except rats, which were in great 
plenty, and running in all directions ; of birds there were but few ; 
white terns and noddies were seen in the groves, and a few moths 
were caught. 

Mr. Rich found some tall Pisonias, Tournefortias, two species of 
Urtica?, a Boerhaavia, and some cocoa-nuts. On the larger island 
they seem to have a much greater variety of trees, but it was not 
visited. They have bread-fruit, taro, and yams of two kinds, which 
are cultivated in the manner already described. 





DtAWtibviT Agate 

JWPaiadiac Sc 






In order to obtain all the information possible from Kirby and 
Wood, Captain Hudson placed them under the immediate control of 
Mr. Hale, the philologist. This gentleman had thus an opportunity 
to examine and cross-question them, during the whole time they 
remained on board the Peacock. To his report to Captain Hudson, I 
am principally indebted for the following information respecting the 
entire group. Captain Hudson states to me, that the opportunity 
Mr. Hale enjoyed was the very best for eliciting information, as they 
were vipwards of a month on board the ship, and were under 
examination day after day. 

Their accounts are deemed entitled by Captain Hudson and his 
officers to much credit, from the fact that many things had passed 
under their own eyes that perfectly agreed with the accounts that 
Kirby, in particular, gave ; and he was found to have obtained much 
fluency in speaking their language. It is likewise some confirmation 
of Kirby's account, that Wood's in many particulars corresponded 
with it, and in all as much so as could be expected between islanders 
that, although allied in race, are now living under totally different 
circumstances. Wood, it must be observed, had not, though a much 
longer resident than Kirby, acquired so thorough a knowledge of the 
language, or of their manners and customs, principally, it was 
thought, from a want of aptitude for such observation. 

The Kingsmill Group consists of fifteen islands, of which the 
geographical positions have been already given in speaking of them 


They are as follow, viz. : 



Makin and Tarita 










Matthew's Island. 










The above are all those that were visited by the Peacock : the 
natives, however, gave the names of others, which are said to be in 
the neighbourhood, to the number of six. 

Peru, ......... Francis Island. 

Nukunau, ........ Byron's " 

Arurai, ........ Hurd's " 

Tamana, ........ Phoebe " 

Onoutu, ........ Rotcher's " 

The first of these five are known on the maps, but the two last are 
not. There is one which the natives of Apia designated by Tarawa- 
ni-Makin, but I am inclined to believe it was intended for Pitt's 

The dimensions of these islands have been given, as well as the 
facilities they afford ships, and the inducements to visit them. The 
highest land of the group is not more than twenty feet above the sea, 
and they are all of coral formation, having a general resemblance to 
the coral islands spoken of in the early history of this voyage. It was 
found that, unlike those, many of the islands of this group afforded 
anchorage on sand-banks under their lee, or western side, and in 
some of them the leeward reef appears to be in part wanting : this 
would form a distinctive character, and Kirby bears testimony to the 
fact that these islands are fast wealing away by the action of the sea 
on them during the westerly gales. 

The compact coral shelf is found at the depth of twelve feet 
beneath the surface. There is another distinctive mark, which tends 
to prove that these islands, instead of increasing, are actually wasting 


away, which is, that in all cases where the island is at all exposed, it 
has become a string of detached islets, a form it would be most likely 
first to assume in undergoing such a change. Those containing 
passages through the reef have been already pointed out ; and in the 
Hydrographical Memoir, full directions for entering the lagoons will 
be found. 

Their soil, which is but a few inches in depth, is of coral sand and 
vegetable mould, below which coral sand continues to be found, and 
to this depth the wells and taro-patches extend. The rain-water 
percolates thus far, and meets the coral rock. Besides this rock, 
small pieces of pumice are found, which are supposed to have drifted 
to the island. Of these great use is made, in cultivation, as a 

Their cultivation consists for the most part in that of cocoa-nut and 
pandanus, which are their chief articles of food. They also culti- 
vate with great care a species of the taro (Arum cordifolium), which 
is called by the natives "poipoi," and is said to grow to a very large 
size ; but all that was seen by the officers was small, and apparently 

Bread-fruit trees are to be found on the northern islands, but 
the tree was not seen on the southern. They pay more attention 
to the rearing of trees than in any other islands of Polynesia, for the 
cocoa-nut trees are fenced round, and pounded pumice is mixed with 
the soil near their roots. This stone is collected by the women, who 
are frequently to be seen in numbers on the beaches, after westerly 
winds, picking it up in small baskets. 

There is likewise a purslane, which is abundant, and according 
to Kirby, is eaten in cases of scarcity or famine. The excava- 
tions for the planting of taro are of various sizes, generally one hun- 
dred feet in length, by fifty in breadth. On Makin or Pitt's Island, 
it is said, there is a trench about ten feet wide, and not less than 
seven miles long, dug around the lagoon, from which it is separated 
by an embankment. The water in this trench is but slightly 
brackish, and sufficiently fresh to nurture the taro. The natives 
are remarkably careful to keep this plant free from weeds, or any 
thing that may affect its growth ; and they are in the habit of loosen- 
ing the root, with this view. There is no particular season when it 
comes to maturity, neither do they observe any particular time for 
planting it. On Makin, they have a kind of fruit resembling the 
gooseberry, called by the natives " teiparu ;" this they pound, after 

vol. v. 22 


it is dried, and make with molasses into cakes, which are sweet and 
pleasant to the taste. 

Of all the native accounts of the peopling of the groups of the 
islands in the vast Pacific, that of the Kingsmill Group bears the 
strongest impress of truth and historical probability. Whether this 
be owing to the comparatively recent period at which they have been 
peopled, or to their traditions having been less confused by mytho- 
logical tales, it is difficult to determine ; but the facts appear so re- 
markable and probable, that few will read the account of them with- 
out giving it the full weight of authentic history. This account states, 
that the first inhabitants arrived in two canoes from Barness or Baneba, 
an island which they say lies to the southwestward, and whence they 
had escaped during a civil war, as the only means left them of pre- 
serving their lives. After they had arrived upon this island and had 
begun a settlement, two other canoes happened to arrive from an 
island to the southeastward, which they called Amoi. The natives 
in the last canoes were lighter in colour, and better-looking than their 
predecessors, and spoke a different language. For one or two gene- 
rations the two races lived together in harmony ; but the Baneba 
people coveting the wives of the men from Amoi, difficulties arose, 
which ended in the Amoi men being put to death by those of Ba- 
neba, and the latter taking possession of the women. 

From these sources all the Kingsmill natives are descended. The 
bread-fruit is said to have been brought by the Amoi people, and the 
taro by those of Baneba. The cocoa-nut and pandanus were found 
growing on the island. 

It is difficult to settle the position of Amoi, from its name ; but 
the direction in which it lies would designate the Samoan Group 
as the islands referred to. Those of Baneba, it is suggested, might 
be derived from the Caroline Group, although the direction does not 
exactly correspond. The Ascension Island of that group has Boneba 
for its native name. 

What adds to the probability of this simple story, is the fact that it 
is almost the only tradition these islanders have. That the islands have 
been peopled within a period not very remote, is believed by the natives 
themselves, and they state that only a few generations back the people 
were much fewer than at present, wars less frequent, and the com- 
munication between the islands safe and free. The grandfather of 
Tekere, the present king of Kuria, is said to have voyaged to every 
island in the group on a pleasure trip to see the world, about a hun- 



dred years since. But, so estranged have the inhabitants of the 
several islands become from each other, that if a canoe from one of 
them should visit, or seek, through distress, another island, the 
persons in it would in all probability be put to death, under the 
supposition of their being spies, or in order to procure their bones 
and teeth for the manufacture of ornaments. 

The islanders of this group differ in their personal traits from those 
of Polynesians, and more nearly resemble the Malays. Their colour 
is a dark copper, a shade or two deeper than the Tahitian; they are 
of the middle size, well made, and slender. Their hair is fine, black, 
and glossy ; the nose slightly aquiline, but a little broad at the base ; 
the mouth is large, with full lips and small teeth ; the cheek bones 
project forward, so as to give the eyes the appearance of being sunken ; 
their beards and mustaches are black and fine like their hair. Their 
average height is about five feet eight inches, and the great majority 
would be called small men. The women are much smaller in pro- 
portion than the men, with delicate features, slight figures, and, as 
before remarked, they were generally thought pretty. 

In this description, it will be necessary to remark, that the inhabi- 
tants of Makin are not included; for they differ so much in point 
of appearance from the others, that were it not for their manners, 
customs, and language, they could not be classed among the same 
race. A drawing of one is represented in the annexed engraving. 


Wood, who had lived among the latter people a long time, 
accounted for their difference in appearance by their being at all 
times abundantly supplied with food, and living an inactive life, with 


nothing to disturb their peace, which has continued unbroken for 
upwards of a century. They have from this cause become naturally 
indolent; and their fullest enjoyment is in taking their ease. Tlieir 
colour is a shade lighter than that of the natives of the other islands of 
this group; their stature taller, and their whole frame much larger; 
their limbs are full and well rounded ; their bodies as smooth as a 
child's ; their features oval, and more regular and delicate than those 
of the natives of the southern islands of the same group. 

As respects their social state, the people are divided into three 
classes : the nea or omata (chiefs), katoka (landholders), and kawa 
(slaves). The first and last divisions constitute about three-fourths of 
the population, and are about equal in numbers. The katokas are 
persons who possess land, but are not of noble birth; many of these 
were originally slaves, who have obtained land by acts of bravery, or 
through the favour of their chiefs. The kawas are those who possess 
no land, or no one from whom they can claim support. The omatas 
consist of all the free and well born, who possess the greater propor- 
tion of the land, as well as the political authority of the group. The 
oldest male of a family is the chief of the community, and presides 
over all their matters : he is called nea. They are, however, inde- 
pendent of each other, although great deference is always paid to the 
oldest among them. 

In Makin, the class of katokas is not known ; and the only dis- 
tinctions they have, are the high and the low. This class, therefore, 
appears to have been only introduced on Kuria and the adjacent 

Wars between the different towns are of frequent occurrence ; and 
in some of the islands ambitious chiefs have obtained the rule 
through conquests, and made themselves sovereign over the whole. 

There does not appear to be any general authority existing 
throughout the group, even in those islands that are in the neigh- 
bourhood of each other, excepting in the islands of Apamama, 
Nanouki, and Kuria, where there is a king, who governs the three: 
he resides on the former, and is named " Tetalau." His grandfather 
was the first to make war, and by conquest acquired supreme power in 
Apamama. The present king has extended his authority over the two 
smaller islands, against which he waged a successful war, in conse- 
quence of the murder of one of his relations. To this little kingdom, 
most of the facts in reference to the Kingsmill Group more particularly 
apply, as Kuria was the residence of Kirby ; but from the observa- 


tions of the naturalists and officers, I have little doubt that the 
manners and customs of the other islands, with the exception of 
Makin, are very similar. 

On Tarawa there is also a king, as well as on Makin ; but it 
appears that this has only been the case on the latter since the time 
of the grandfather of the present king, called Teouki. The acquisi- 
tion of royal power by him was said to have been effected only 
through a series of bloody wars, which established his authority so 
firmly, that peace and quietness have reigned for a century ; nor has 
any attempt been made on the part of the conquered chiefs to regain 
their independence. 

The government, is carried on after the simplest patriarchal form, 
the king- contenting himself with receiving the tribute due him, 
without intermeddling with the administration of the affairs of the 
separate towns over which he rules. 

According to Kirby, a king governs also on Taputeouea or Drum- 
mond's Island ; but it has been seen by the experience of the Peacock 
that his power was far from being paramount, it having been con- 
tested by a large portion of the island. 

There are places where the royal authority does not supersede all 
other, and where the government is carried on by the whole body of 
chiefs, who take rank according to their age. In these places, for the 
purpose of accommodating all, there is in every town a large council- 
house, called the mariapa, one of which has been before described. 
In it every family of rank has its particular seat, along the side of the 
house ; the middle being occupied by the katokas and kawas, or 
landholders and slaves, neither of whom have any voice in the affairs 
of government. 

When a meeting is deemed necessary, the oldest or presiding chief 
sends out his messengers, whose business it is to summon the people, 
which is done by blowing conchs in all directions. The council then 
assembles, when the head chief lays before them the business, and 
any one is at liberty to speak, and if he be so disposed, delivers his 
opinion. The discussions are said to be at times very animated, and 
violent quarrels sometimes take place between different speakers, who 
are with difficulty prevented from coming to blows by those who are 
present. No regular vote is taken ; but the opinion of the majority 
is very soon ascertained, and this decides the business. 

The chiefs have absolute rale over their own families and slaves, 
vol. v. 23 


and can punish them at pleasure. Minor crimes are punished by the 
offended party or his relatives, but in cases of importance, the decision 
is made and the punishment ordered in council. 

The great and marked distinction between these natives and those 
of Polynesia is the absence of the taboo system, or any laws or prohi- 
bitions under the control of the priest, or chiefs, that are believed to 
emanate from their gods. Mr. Hale remarks, that the word taboo 
occurs in several compounds in their language having the meaning 
of sacred, but is not used by itself. 

The succession to rank and property is hereditary. If a chief has 
several children by different wives, the son of the mother of the 
highest rank is the successor. If all the children should be equal in 
rank, the eldest would receive twice as much land as the others ; or if 
the father does not choose to divide his property, the eldest son would 
receive the whole, and is obliged to support his brothers and sisters, 
who are expected in return to work for him, and cannot marry without 
his consent. Females can inherit property, and there are heiresses in 
the Kingsmill Group whose wealth allures many suitors. Slaves are 
held under strict subjection, are considered as personal property, and 
cannot marry without the consent of their masters. 

The religious belief is of the simplest kind. The name of their 
principal divinity is Wanigain. or Tabu-eriki. He is their most popu- 
lar god, and considered by some the greatest. About two-thirds of 
the people worship him as their tutelar divinity. The rest do not 
acknowledge him, but have other deities ; and some worship the souls 
of their departed ancestors, or certain birds, fish, and animals. A 
female deity is the object of adoration to very many. She is called 
Itivini, is reputed to be of a cruel disposition, and all the little children 
who die are supposed to be killed and eaten by her. The natives 
always refuse to eat the animals, fish, &c, worshipped by them, but 
will readily catch them, that others may partake of the food. 

Tabu-eriki's image has been before described, and a wood-cut repre- 
senting it will be found at the end of the chapter. The coral stone 
which represents him is always tied round with cocoanut-leaves, and 
these are changed once a month, to keep them constantly green. The 
worship paid to this god consists in repeating prayers before this stone, 
and depositing beside it a portion of the food prepared for their own 
use. This is done not only at the time of festivals, but at their daily 
meals, and also whenever they desire to propitiate his favour ; the first 


fruits of the season are also offered to this god. Every family of any 
distinction has one of these stones, which is considered by many of 
them rather in the light of an altar than of an idol. 

The female deity, Itivini, is worshipped in a small circle, formed by 
a number of coral stones, three feet in diameter, which is covered with 
white gravel ; in the centre a cocoa-nut is set up. At the time prayers 
are offered to her, this nut is bound with a wreath of leaves, and 
anointed with cocoanut-oil. 

There is another female deity, called Itituapea, who is worshipped 
at a fiat coral stone situated on the reef between the islets of Kuria 
and Oneoka; the two are known on the chart by the name of Kuria. 
Any one passing it, either on foot or in canoes, never fails to invoke 
her favour, and if they have any food, leave a part of it on the stone, 
which is never taken away. 

The skulls of ancestors are carefully preserved by their family, and 
held in great reverence. When they desire to invoke their spirits, 
these skulls are taken down, wreathed with leaves, laid on a new mat, 
anointed with oil, and presented with food. Fish and animals that 
are held sacred are only addressed with prayers by their worshippers. 

According to Wood, the names of Tabu-eriki, Itivini, and Itituapea 
are unknown at Makin, and the only spirits the natives of that island 
worship are those of their deceased ancestors. The custom on the 
death of a great chief is to set up a similar stone and deck it with 
cocoanut-leaves, after which such offerings as have been mentioned 
are made to it. Kirby thought, from what he had seen, that the natives 
of Kuria believed that their gods also had once been chiefs, who from 
the lapse of time had been forgotten. For the performance of these 
duties there are priests, but they do not enjoy any particular respect 
or power on that account. The priests are called iboya or boya, and 
are not a distinct class : any young man of high rank and possessed of 
shrewdness may become a priest. Every family of consequence has 
a priest to attend to its tutelar deity, who performs the rites and cere- 
monies. The perquisites of priests consist only in the food offered to 
the god, which the former takes away after it has remained a short 
time, and eats it at his own house. In the absence of the priest, the 
father of the family officiates by offering up family prayer, and the food 
is removed and eaten by some elderly person belonging to the house- 
hold. Prayers are offered up either in a sitting or standing posture, 
and are accompanied by no particular ceremony or gesticulations. 
The prayers are usually petitions for health, long life, success in war, 


fishing, the arrival of ships, and other blessings they may desire at 
the moment, and which it is believed to be in the power of the gods 
to give them. 

The priest makes known the oracles of the gods, which he receives 
in the following manner. On the sandy beach on the weather or 
eastern side of the island, there are many houses, called ba-ni-mota, 
or bota-ni-anti. These are of the usual size of the dwelling-houses, 
but the walls are of coral stone, and they have no loft. The doorway 
is always in the west end, because the Kainakaki, the country of 
souls, lies in that direction. In the centre of this house, a stout pillar 
of coral stone is built up to the height of three and a half feet, having 
in its middle a hollow of about a foot in diameter ; to this the priest 
puts his ear, and pretends to receive the instructions of his god. 

On Kuria there are six of these houses, and besides there are many 
hollow pillars standing uncovered along the beach, as it is not deemed 
necessary that the oracle should always have a covering. 

On Makin there is no regular order of priests, and the father of the 
family, as in the case of the absence of the priest on the other islands, 
officiates. On this island they have a class of men, which are un- 
known to the others, conjurors, and persons who pretend to have 
intercourse with spirits. 

The natives of the group put great faith in omens and charms. 
The most common mode of divination they call kaina, which is per- 
formed with the sprout or top of a young cocoa-nut tree. The 
leaves of this are doubled in after a particular fashion, and accord- 
ing as the folds coincide or not it is deemed a good or a bad omen. 
When these folds do not coincide, they believe that one of their gods 
is probably offended, and proceed to find out whether he be so or not, 
by taking a cocoa-nut that is kept for the purpose, which they spin 
like a top before the sacred" stone or altar : if it falls with the upper 
end towards the stone, it is a favourable omen ; if otherwise, the god 
is angry, and must be appeased by offerings and prayers. 

At times they pretend to receive an intimation that their ancestors 
are displeased, in which case their skulls are taken down and propi- 
tiated by offerings. 

They believe also in a species of cursing, called wainak, which con- 
sists in invoking or praying to Death, in order to procure illness or 
the displeasure of the gods on any one. 

Shooting stars are deemed ominous of death to some member 
of the family, which may occupy the part of the council-house 


nearest the point of the heavens from which it took its flight. If 
accompanied by a train, it foretells the death of a female ; if otherwise, 
that of a male. 

Some of the chiefs are believed to hold communication with spirits, 
and to be able at times to foretell future events : they usually exer- 
cise this pretended power at night; and when a number of people are 
sleeping in the mariapa, they are awakened by unnatural sounds, 
proceeding from the chief, which are considered as the words of the 
god, who speaks by him to announce the arrival of ships, the approach 
of war, and other great events. When these predictions do not come 
to pass, they always impute the failure to the intervention of some 
other spirit. 

They believe in an existence after death, and that on the death of a 
person, his spirit ascends into the air, where it is carried about by the 
winds, wherever they may chance to blow, until it finally reaches the 
Kainakaki elysium. Only those who are tattooed can expect to reach 
it, and these are generally persons of rank ; all others are intercepted 
on their way, and doomed by a large giantess, called Baine. If 
those who die are old and feeble, their spirits are conducted to the 
Kainakaki by the shades of those who have died before them. The 
spirits of children are carried to the realms of bliss by their female 
relatives, and are nursed and taken care of until they are able to 
provide for themselves. 

The Kainakaki is supposed to be situated in the island of Tavaira, 
or Gilbert's Island. On this island there are several curious mounds, 
of different sizes, the largest of which is about a mile long by half a 
mile wide ; some of them exceed twenty-four feet in height above the 
surrounding soil : with this altitude, these are very conspicuous on 
a low coral island. Each of these mounds is supposed to be the 
place of a Kainakaki, the great beauty of which is invisible to mortal 
eyes. Here the spirits pass their time in feasting and dancing ; and 
whatever they delighted in on earth, is now enjoyed to the fullest 
extent. The ground of the Kainakaki is considered sacred, and 
though overgrown with trees, no native will venture to cut them 
down : when a tree falls, it is taken away, and another planted in its 

The daily occupation of these natives will serve to give an estimate 
of their character, and would seem to be necessary before speaking of 
their customs. 

They rise at daylight, wash their face, hands, and teeth, with 

vol. v. 24 


fresh water, and afterwards anoint themselves with scented cocoanut- 
oil. They then proceed to their work, and continue at it until the 
heat becomes oppressive, which it does by nine or ten o'clock, when 
they return to their houses, wash themselves again, and take their 
first meal : all the middle of the day is passed in their houses, or in 
the mariapa, in sleeping, or chatting with their neighbours. About 
four o'clock in the afternoon they again resume their work, and 
continue engaged at it until sunset, when they return, and wash 
themselves for the third time. They then take their second meal, 
and shortly after dark retire to sleep. They have no torches, (except 
for great occasions,) or any other means of lighting their houses, and 
are thus compelled to retire early, so that their amusements, as well 
as their occupations, cease with the day. The character of these 
islanders has many things in it to condemn : although they are de- 
ceitful and dishonest in their dealings, yet they are, in their inter- 
course with each other, hospitable and generous ; they never buy or 
sell, but if any person desires an article which another has, he asks 
for it, and if not too valuable and esteemed, is seldom refused : it is the 
general understanding that such favours are to be returned, and that 
the request should only be made by persons who can afford to do so. 
They always place food before a stranger, and any one who has not a 
sufficient supply at home is at liberty to join the meals of a more 
fortunate neighbour. According to Kirby, there are many who are 
desirous of avoiding this tax upon them, and take their meals after 
dark, when they are not so liable to be intruded upon by their 
hungry fellow-townsmen. 

They are addicted to thieving, although they are severely punished 
for it when detected. They are easily excited to anger, but are soon 
appeased, nor is the occasion of offence remembered with any feelings 
of rancour. The women seem to possess stronger passions than the 
men, and more enduring wrath ; jealousy is the principal exciting 
cause with them, and they will sometimes carry a small weapon, made 
of a shark's tooth, concealed for months, watching an opportunity of 
making an attack ; desperate fights are the consequence of this, and 
so much injury is done before these ferocious combatants can be 
parted, that they often suffer from terrible wounds. Yet Kirby says, 
he found in other respects than this the women always more humane 
and gentle than the men. 

Like all savages, they are treacherous and cruel to the last degree ; 
although they seem less prone to fighting than other natives whom 


we had met during our cruise. Kirby mentioned, that they had had 
no war on the three islands where he was resident, for upwards of 
five years. This may be partly owing to the difficulty of fitting out 
expeditions to attack the other islands, and the hazard of communi- 
cating with those islands of which they have a knowledge. 

Another custom is remarkable : when a fisherman arrives with a 
well-loaded canoe, his neighbours assemble around him, selecting 
and taking away such as they please, leaving the owner nothing in 
return but the satisfaction of knowing, that on a similar occasion he 
has a like privilege to help himself. Custom has so far sanctioned 
this habit of appropriating things belonging to another, that, accord- 
ing to Kirby, they have no term to designate a poor man, except that 
of slave. Any one who owns land can always call upon others to 
provide him with a house, canoe, and the necessaries of life ; but one 
who has none is considered as a slave, and can hold no property 

The courtesies of life with them are few, and the want of them 
probably arises from their privilege of making use of what belongs to 
another as their own. Their salutations on meeting are confined to 
simple inquiries, " Where are you going ?" or, " Whence do you 
come ?" The rubbing of noses is only practised on special occasions. 
On meeting a chief, the other natives leave the path and stand aside 
until he passes, but make no gestures or expression of obeisance. 
This same mark of respect is also rendered to all the women by the 
other sex. 

They are said to be kind and affectionate to their children, and to 
indulge them in every thing; they never punish them even for the 
most insolent and passionate behaviour, only using kind and affec- 
tionate words : this may account for the rude treatment that was 
observed to be in practice among the natives of Drummond's Island 
towards our gentlemen as well as their conduct towards each other. 
There is, however, no want of attention to the aged who are not able 
to provide for themselves ; and those who neglect their old relations 
are held in little respect. The aged enjoy much consideration, and, as 
I have before stated, great respect is paid to them in council. 

More consideration is awarded to the female sex than has been ob- 
served in any of the other groups. All the hard labour is performed 
by the men, whose employment consists in building the houses and 
canoes, catching fish, collecting and bringing home the produce of 
their plantations, and attending to the cultivation of the taro, in which 


the women assist only by weeding the ground. The employment 
of the females is almost exclusively confined to in-door occupation, 
and those which we ourselves hold as belonging naturally to the sex, 
such as cooking and preparing food, braiding mats, &c, and they 
seem to have exclusive control over the house. The work of both 
sexes is, however, very light, and the greater proportion of their time 
is spent in pastimes, of which idleness forms the most considerable 
part. Although the women are relieved from the toils of life, yet they 
are not held to be above chastisement, and a man will not hesitate to 
strike a woman ; but the fair ones consider themselves equally free, 
and seldom fail to return the blow, and the aggrieved party generally 
receives the aid of her companions, when the man is glad to escape 
from the bruises, blows, and scratches they inflict. 

Among this people chastity is not regarded as a virtue, nor consi- 
dered as any recommendation in the selection of a wife ; but after 
marriage, a woman must be extremely guarded in her conduct, as 
the punishment for a want of duty in this respect is severe, even 
amounting to death in some cases; but it is usually limited to 
expulsion from her husband's house. Notwithstanding these penal- 
ties, there are frequent infractions of these ties, and it is not sur- 
prising that they should occur, under their system of polygamy, and 
the interdiction which prevents the younger brothers of chiefs, and 
persons who do not hold land, from marrying. Intrigues and elope- 
ments are not unfrequent, and produce the same results as else- 

War, on all the islands with the exception of Makin, is a part of 
their business, and apparently engages most of their attention. Their 
conflicts may be considered as civil wars, for little communication is 
held between any of the islands, except those of Apamama, Na- 
nouki, and Kuria, which are under the king of Apamama. The 
communication that takes place between the others is in consequence 
of the escape of individuals from punishment, or who become des- 
perate, and embark in a canoe, to seek an asylum in some of the 
neighbouring islands. This is also the practice with the remaining 
portion of a defeated party, in order to escape from the pursuit of the 
victors. An instance of this kind was related by Kirby, that occurred 
about ten years before his arrival. While the king of Apamama 
was on a visit to Kuria, one of the principal chiefs in Apamama 
rebelled against him, gained over many of his subjects, and obtained 
full possession of the island ; numbers, however, remained faithful, 


and fled to Kuria to join the king, who immediately began to collect 
his warriors from the two smaller islands, and prepared himself for 
making a descent upon Apamama. It was winter before he was fully 
ready, and owing to the irregularity and uncertainty of the winds and 
weather at that season, he was obliged to postpone his expedition for 
several months. He finally embarked, with his whole army, and 
landed upon the north end of Apamama, where a great number 
flocked to his standard. The rebels, finding themselves too weak 
to maintain a contest, fled towards the south end of the island. Here 
they prepared their canoes, and when the king, with his army, drew 
near, they took their wives and children, and put to sea. They 
proceeded first to Kuria, where they were mistaken, as they ap- 
proached, for the warriors of the island returning ; and the old men, 
women, and children, crowded to the shore to meet them, and wel- 
come their relatives back; but they were suddenly surrounded by 
their enemies, maddened by defeat, who destroyed them all without 
mercy, and laid waste the whole island. In a few days afterwards 
the Kurians were seen returning, when the rebels again took refuge 
in flight, leaving the island to be again possessed by its owners, but 
with every thing destroyed. Some of the fugitives reached other 
islands in safety, others were picked up by whale-ships, but the 
greater part were never heard of again. The chief reached Tapu- 
teouea, or Drummond's Island, where he is said to be still living. 

Wood also relates, that about eight years prior to his being taken 
on board, a fleet of canoes, containing fifteen hundred persons, arrived 
at Makin, from Apia, whence they had been driven by the warriors 
of Tarawa. At Makin they were hospitably received and enter- 
tained, until it was discovered that a plot was concocting among 
them for conquering the island, upon which the inhabitants fell upon 
them, and massacred nearly the whole. 

They sometimes, though but seldom, engage in other warlike 
undertakings, when the warriors of one island will set out with a 
large fleet to attack another. In these expeditions they rarely go to 
any island to windward of them, on account of the uncertainty of 
the voyage when the southeast wind blows, and also in consequence 
of the sea-sickness produced by the motion of their canoes, which 
renders them unfit to fight. When this happens, their adversaries, 
if they get information of the meditated attack, before, or just as the 
hostile, fleet touches their shore, assail their invaders to great advan- 

vol. v. 25 


tage, while the men, stiff from being cramped in their canoes, and 
still under the effects of their sickness, are easily overcome. 

It is only the young and vigorous who go on these expeditions, 
with a few of the older warriors to direct their operations. In their 
civil wars the old men and the women join in the combat, and the 
victors make no distinction of age or sex in the massacre which 
generally ensues. 

The bodies of the slain are not generally eaten, but, according to 
their own account, it occasionally happens that when some noted 
warrior has been killed, the young men eat portions of his flesh from 
hatred, and through a desire to appear fierce and terrible. Kirby 
stated two cases in which he knew human flesh to have been eaten. 
One was that of an old man of Kuria, who had offended a chief on 
Apamama, and the other, of four slaves of the king, who had attempted 
to escape from the island in a canoe. All these were killed, and par- 
ticular parts of their bodies eaten. The act, it was thought, was 
prompted by vindictiveness, and a desire to taste an unusual kind of 
food. We may therefore conclude that they are not to be considered 
as cannibals, though, according to Kirby, they seem to have no 
apparent disgust at eating human flesh. 

In Makin, where they have had no wars for a hundred years, they 
are much less bloodthirsty, and during the seven years Wood was on 
the island, only one man was put to death. He does not believe that 
the people are cannibals, but he has frequently heard the old men 
relate, that during times of scarcity their ancestors sometimes ate 
human flesh. 

The weapons used among them are spears, clubs, and swords, 
which are made of cocoanut-wood, and after the simplest fashion. 
Few of their clubs are carved, and they seem to bestow very little 
labour upon them ; this, however, is appropriated to a different kind 
of weapon, which they consider much more effective : these are the 
shark's-teeth spears and swords, wood-cuts of which have been hereto- 
fore given. The natives of most of the islands show the effects of 
these weapons on their bodies and limbs. The armour they use as a 
protection also claims much of their attention. According to Kirby, 
this armour has been only a short time introduced or in use on the 
islands, and is not yet common in all of them. As defences, they 
seldom resort to strongholds, — indeed they have none in the northern 
islands; but at Taputeouea they have palisades or pickets, about 


eight or ten feet high, which surround the towns. Utiroa had a 
defence of this kind, and many pickets across the town in various 
directions, which would make a good defence, if the warriors were 
resolute. It is not improbable, that the more warlike natives of the 
southern islands, particularly those of Drummond's Island, will, ere 
long, push their conquests to the northern islands, and extend their 
rule over them. Two years before the arrival of the Peacock, the 
natives of Apamama, Nanouki, and Kuria, apprehended an attack 
from this quarter ; when the king collected his forces to the number 
of between five and six thousand, who continued under arms through 
the whole summer ; but after all it proved a false alarm. 

Their houses and canoes are better built than any we found else- 
where in the Pacific, and all their structures are large, strong, and 
durable, though constructed of the most unsuitable materials : they 
are so well combined as to display much elegance as well as strength. 
Their dwelling-houses and mariapas have been noticed, but there is 
another description of house, without a loft, in which the chiefs pass 
most of their time, receiving visits, and conversing with their friends 
and dependants. 

On the island of Makin the houses are of larger dimensions, in 
consequence of the abundance of timber. From Wood's description 
of their mariapa, it is an enormous structure. The canoes have 
already claimed a notice : those built in the northern islands are much 
the largest, some of them being sixty feet in length. 

From the importance of their structures or buildings, the trade of a 
carpenter is held in great repute : those who exercise it are either 
dependent^on the chiefs, working by their orders, or free born : the 
latter are paid for their services. The time required for building a 
house is about two months, and the price of such a job, two or three 
rolls of their bread, called "kabul." A canoe capable of carrying 
ten persons takes five or six months to build. The payment is 
proportioned to the length of time occupied in the work. The 
whole town is engaged in the labour of constructing- one of their 
council-houses (mariapa). A very great proportion of their time is 
taken up in the manufacture of their dresses; and while the men 
are engaged in building houses and canoes, the women fabricate 
the articles of dress, sails, mats for flooring, and those worn by the 
men. The mats are made of the leaves of the pandanus, slit into 
strips about a quarter of an inch wide, and woven by hand : these are 
of two colours, light yellow and dark brown ; the former are made 


from the young leaves, and the latter from the old, which are pre- 
pared by beating them with a mallet to render them pliable. On the 
yellow mats they bestow a great deal more of their attention : the 
young leaves are laid aside for two or three days after they are 
plucked, till they are withered ; they are then roasted, by holding 
them in the hand over the fire, and afterwards laid in the sun for 
three or four days, to insure them being sufficiently dried. During 
the latter part of the process, they are brought every evening into the 
house, to protect them from the dew or rain. When the leaves are 
sufficiently dry, they are left all night to bleach in the dew ; they are 
then rolled up in balls, and pounded with a mallet to render them 
soft and pliable, and when this is accomplished, they are slit with a 
shell and are ready for use. The brown and white slips are braided 
together, so as to form regular figures, squares, or diamond-shape, 
which have a pretty effect. The colours being in the material itself, 
are retained as long as the fabric lasts. The mode of weaving this 
matting has been described. The conical cap of the men is at times 
quite becoming. They cover their shoulders with a small oblong mat, 
having a slit in the middle through which the head is passed. This 
part of their dress resembles a " poncho" of small size. The women's 
dress, which they call "iriri," is quite becoming and graceful : it is a 
kind of fringe, made of cocoanut-leaves, cut into slips about a foot 
long, and tied by one end to a string, which goes round the middle : 
the young leaflets are selected for this purpose, and the rib of the leaf 
is removed by slitting it down on each side. The leaves are next 
rolled up and beaten with a mallet, after which they are chewed until 
they become quite flexible ; these narrow ribands are then knotted to 
a double cord. The dress is fitted on the person, and is then clipped 
off at equal lengths all around : it has a light and elegant appearance, 
and yields to any motion of -the body, yet never becomes entangled or 
out of order. 

At Apamama, they dip the iriris in cocoanut-oil ; at Taputeouea, 
they steep them in an infusion of the juice which is obtained from a 
small tree, with large green leaves, called meo : of these leaves a 
number are pounded in a shell, and a little water poured on them, 
which is then filtered through the pellicle of the cocoa-nut tree and 
mixed with molasses. After being steeped in this liquid for some 
time, the iriri is rolled up in a mat with some leaves of the meo and 
pandanus-nuts, and roasted in a native oven. By this process it 
acquires a soft and flexible appearance, and a peculiar odour, which 


our gentlemen thought was like that of a mixture of tobacco and 
molasses. Both of these qualities it retains until it is worn out. 

The natives are very fond of ornamenting themselves : in the lobes 
of their ears they wear strings of small leaves of the mangrove, and 
the pith of a large species of Scsevola, which is common in the low 
islands. This pith is cut into strips and put up into a long roll ; a 
wreath of which surrounds the neck, and to which a white ovula-shell, 
or a large whale's tooth, hangs suspended on their breast. This pith 
is thought by Mr. Rich, to be the same as that called Chinese paper, 
and obtained from the same plant. Long strings of beads or braided 
hair are worn round the body, at times a hundred fathoms in length, 
which serve to fasten the mat. The hair for this purpose is taken 
from the female slaves, and is braided into a string about the size 
of a packthread. The beads are manufactured by the old men who 
are beyond doing any other labour, and are of the size of a small 
button-moiild ; they are made of cocoa-nut and shell, and strung 
alternately black and white, being ground down to a uniform size 
and fitted together for the purpose. 

The food of the natives consists principally of fish, from the whale 
to the sea-slug; shell-fish of every kind are also eaten. 

Whales are represented to have been much more abundant for- 
merly, when they at times got aground on some of the numerous 
shoals, and were killed by the natives with their spears. Even now 
a carcass occasionally drifts on shore, which affords an acceptable 
prize. Sharks are caught by enticing them alongside the canoe, with 
a bait, and enclosing them in a noose. The smaller fishes are taken 
in fish-traps, like eel-pots, made of withes : these the natives set on 
the bottom, and place pieces of coral on them to keep them there. 

Great numbers of fish are also taken in weirs, or enclosures of 
stone, which are made in the extensive coral flats, that are left bare 
by every tide : into these the fish are driven at high water, by a 
number of natives, who surround the shoal; the weir is then closed, 
and left until the tide falls, when the fish are easily taken in scoop- 
nets. Large seines are often used in places where the bottom renders 
it practicable to draw them. Flying-fish are taken in the daytime, 
by trailing a hook, attached to a short line, from the stern of a canoe. 
At night they are caught in scoop-nets, as they fly towards a lighted 
torch, held in a part of the canoe. Crabs are also decoyed out of 
their holes at night, by torchlight, and captured. 

vol. v. 26 


Turtles are taken in the season on the beaches ; and shell-fish, with 
the sea-slug or biche de mar, are obtained on the reefs by diving. 

Their vegetable food consists of cocoa-nuts and pandanus, and a 
variety of the taro, with a small quantity of the bread-fruit. The 
preparation of these engages a great deal of their attention, and that 
of the pandanus-nut in particular. When prepared, it is called kabul 
and karapapa. The inner or edible portions of these nuts are sliced 
off, and baked in an oven for several hours, till they are quite hard ; 
they are then taken out, laid on a clean mat, and pounded with a 
large pestle to the consistency of dough ; this is spread out upon 
mats into the form of sheets, about three feet long by eighteen inches 
wide, and a quarter of an inch thick ; these sheets are again laid on 
mats in the sun to dry, and at night are rolled up, and put away in 
an oven to bake. This process is repeated for two days, by which 
time the plates become as hard and unyielding as a board, and are of 
a reddish brown colour. Those plates called kabul are put away in 
the loft of their houses, but are every few days brought out into the 
sun to insure their being kept dry. At the close of the season, they 
are reduced to a powder, not unlike fine sawdust. This is put 
up in rolls, from eight to ten feet long, and six to twelve inches in 
diameter, bound with leaves of the pandanus, and made so smooth 
and round that they look like pillars of brown stone : in this state the 
preparation is called karapapa, and will keep for years. This is the 
principal dependence of the natives in seasons of scarcity, and these 
rolls of karapapa are used as a circulating medium, in which wages 
and tributes to the chiefs are paid. 

They make a kind of broth with karapapa and kamoimoi (molasses), 
which the natives drink in great quantities. 

Tuea is another kind of kabul, but made of a better variety of 
pandanus : this is beaten out into thin sheets, resembling dark brown 
paper, or like our cloth, which is also rolled up and put away ; before 
being eaten, it is soaked for several hours in the milk of the cocoa- 
nut, and is esteemed a dainty. The kabul is generally chewed, and 
softens in the mouth, the pulp being dissolved, while the large mass 
of woody fibre remains : it has a sweetish taste. 

The bread-fruit is generally roasted on hot stones, but not covered 
with earth, as at the other islands. After it is cooked, it is crushed 
between the folds of a mat. It is the same variety that is found at 
the Samoan Islands, which strengthens the opinion that part of these 
natives came from that quarter. 


The taro is baked hard, then grated with a shell, and mixed in a 
trough with kamoimoi, until it is of the consistency of thick paste, 
which is eaten with a spoon made of a human rib. They sometimes 
grate this taro to a powder, and dry it in the sun until it becomes 
like bread-dust. This powder is made up in short thick rolls, and 
covered with pandanus-leaves, in which state it will keep for months. 
They call it kabuibui. Before being eaten, it is soaked in water, and 
then baked in a small basket. 

Manam is another preparation, of baked taro and cocoa-nut. These 
materials are grated fine, mixed together, and then made into balls 
as large as thirty-two pound shot. It is eaten with kamoimoi ; and 
when the whole is not consumed on the day it is made, it is baked, 
to preserve it from spoiling. 

The karaca, or toddy, is procured from the spathe of the cocoa- 
nut tree, which is usually about four feet long, and two inches in 
diameter. From this spathe the fruit is produced ; but in order to 
procure their favourite toddy, it is necessary to prevent nature from 
taking her course in bringing forth the fruit : they bind the spathe 
up tightly with sennit; the end is then sliced off, and a cocoanut- 
shell hung to the projecting part of the spathe, to catch the sap as 
it exudes. One tree will yield from two to six pints of karaca. 
When first obtained from the tree, it is like the young cocoanut- 
milk, and quite limpid ; but after it stands for a few hours, it fer- 
ments and becomes acid. When the spathe ceases to drop, another 
piece is cut off, and every time it ceases to flow, it is treated in the 
same way, until the spathe is entirely gone. Another spathe is found 
soon after above this, which is suffered to grow, and when large 
enough is treated in the same manner. 

The karaca is either drunk fresh from the tree, or made into 
kamoimoi, (the kind of molasses before spoken of,) by boiling it 
down in cocoanut-shells, set upon hot stones. It strongly resembles 
our molasses, both in look and taste. When this is mixed with water 
it is called karave, and is the usual drink at their feasts, when it is 
set out in large wooden bowls, from which it is dipped by cups, made 
of cocoanut-shells or of human skulls. 

These islanders have no kind of intoxicating drink. The food and 
cooking of Makin are similar, although the names are somewhat 
different: they use kaka for karapapa ; tagara for manam. Their 
mode of cooking differs from that of other islanders. A small round 
shallow hole is made, about two feet in diameter, and six inches deep, 


with a sufficient number of hard stones to line it. In this a fire is 
made, and the stones placed on it : when the stones are heated, they 
brush away the fire and ashes, and arrange them ; the food is placed 
on them, over which mats are laid, and covered with earth ; before 
closing the pit, they run a stick obliquely into the heap, and when 
the whole is completed, this stick is drawn out, and water is poured 
into the hole to create steam. Their messes require from one to four 
hours to cook. At times they bake their food by simply putting it 
upon the stones uncovered. 

They do not appear to suffer from want of food, although it is what 
would be deemed of a coarse kind. During Kirby's stay, they had 
abundance, though he mentioned having heard of a famine which 
had occurred a few years before, when it became necessary for the 
natives to have recourse to the purslane, which is not considered by 
them as very unpalatable food. 

These people have, from the little time occupied in cultivating their 
vegetable productions, a great deal of leisure; consequently, as would 
naturally be expected, amusements are sought for, and occupy a 
great part of their time : their festivals and dances are even looked 
upon as claiming priority to their warlike expeditions, and for 
these great preparations are always made some days previously. 
Their greatest festivities take place at the time of full moon, or a few 
days after it, when the people of one towm usually invite those of 
another, both men and women, to what may be termed a dancing and 
singing match. On the clay appointed, the guests arrive in their 
canoes, and proceed to the mariapa, where they occupy that portion 
of it on the side whence they came ; the townspeople seat them- 
selves opposite to them. The food which the strangers bring with 
them is laid in the middle, and as much more is added to it by their 
hosts, all of which is shared out by the guests among themselves. 
The dancing now begins, the guests making the first display of their 
agility, and when they have finished, the people of the town follow. 
A warm rivalry is thus kept up till evening, when the dancing gives 
place to singing, each taking up the measure in his turn. This is 
kept up until midnight, when the townspeople retire, leaving their 
guests to sleep in the mariapa. These festivities last for three days, 
after which the visiters depart. 

The men, during this period, clothe themselves in mats from the 
waist downwards. Some load the waist with heavy strings of beads ; 
others adorn the neck with rows of shells, and sometimes with one or 


two large whale's teeth, while others again have small rows of the 
latter across the back. Almost all wear a great many human teeth 
on the arms and around the neck : these are taken from their slain 
enemies ; for, after killing a man, the first object with them is to knock 
out his teeth, for the purpose of obtaining them for ornaments. 
Through the lobes of their ears they pass long strips of yellow leaves, 
which hang down on their shoulders. They also besmear the face 
and body with cocoanut-oil, and some daub each cheek with fine 
white sand, and blacken their eyebrows and beards with charcoal. 
The hair is oiled and combed out with a pointed stick, and stands 
out from the head, forming an ornament which they esteem as very 
becoming. The women wear their usual dress and a few ornaments, 
but about the decorations of their persons they are very attentive and 

The dances resemble the evolutions of a company of soldiers : the 
two parties stand in rows, either facing each other, or back to back, 
or else both face inwards ; their motions are confined to the body and 
arms; the legs, though not entirely at rest, seldom have much action; 
at times the arms are thrown out from the body, when they give a 
rapid quivering motion to the fingers, clap their hands together, and 
afterwards slap them with great force against the thighs and breast, 
while the body is rocked to and fro. Every movement is made in 
perfect unison by the whole party, who all keep time with a mono- 
tonous song. In their dances the great object is to make as much 
noise and commotion as possible. Their full-moon feasts are the 
only periodical ones they have. 

At the marriage of a great chief there are great rejoicings, attended 
with dances and songs; the latter are composed for the occasion, 
reciting the greatness of the chief, and the prowess and character of 
his ancestors. 

The regular monthly festival does not prevail at Makin Island. 

On Taritari a great feast is held about midwinter, in honour of 
Teouki, the grandfather of the present king, who is considered by 
them as the most illustrious man the island has ever produced. 

There are many other amusements : among them foot-ball, sailing 
small canoes, swimming in the surf, and flying kites. The kites 
are made of the pandanus-leaf reduced to half its thickness, which 
renders it lighter than paper ; and they are prettily shaped. In 
swimming in the surf, they have a small board like that used by the 
Sandwich Islanders. 

vol. v. 27 


One of their sports differs from any we have seen, and appears to 
be peculiar to themselves. It is a game in which dancing, fencing, 
and singing, are combined, which produces a very animated and 
gay spectacle, from the numbers engaged in it, which are often 
from one to two hundred of both sexes. This sport takes place in an 
open space, by moonlight. Each young man chooses a partner from 
the other sex, and they arrange themselves in two rows, the partners 
facing each other as in our country-dances. Two couples form a set, 
and always remain together, but are continually changing places 
with the rest. Every one is provided with a light stick of the stalk of 
the cocoanut-leaf. At a given signal they begin their song, and the 
dancers strike their sticks together, as if playing at single-sticks, 
keeping time to the song ; at stated points they change places with 
those next below, and each in turn reaches the head. As these 
changes all go on simultaneously, the song and clatter of sticks are 
kept up without interruption, and in excellent time. If a person 
misses a stroke, there is much laughter, shouting, and joking. The 
clatter, noises, and singing may be heard for a great distance around. 

The marriage ceremony of these people is conducted somewhat 
after our own custom. A wife is never bought, but it is generally 
supposed that each party will contribute something towards the 
household stock. When a young man is pleased with a girl, and his 
addresses meet with a favourable reception, he applies for the consent 
of her father ; if this be refused, it sometimes puts an end to the 
affair ; but it oftentimes happens that the young couple make a 
runaway match, and trust to a reconciliation afterwards, which 
usually is brought about. 

It would be esteemed very indelicate for a young man to ask his 
future father-in-law what dowry his wife was to receive ; this is never 
made known until after the wedding, and sometimes is delayed until 
the birth of the first child. If a separation take place, which fre- 
quently happens, the wife takes back the land and other property 
which she brought with her. 

A few days previous to a marriage, it is formally announced to the 
relations and friends of both parties, who prepare mats, food, oil, and 
many other articles, for the festival ; these are sent to the dwelling 
of the bride's father, where the ceremony is to take place. When the 
day arrives, all repair to the house, dressed and decorated in their gala 
suits. When thus assembled, the young couple are seated in the midst 
on a new mat; the priest presses their foreheads together, and pours 


on their heads a little cocoanut-oil ; he then takes a branch of a tree, 
dips it in water, and sprinkles their faces, at the same time making a 
prayer for their future happiness and prosperity. Food is now placed 
on the mat between them, usually a particular kind of fish, with 
bread-fruit and taro, which they eat together. They are now con- 
sidered as married, and the friends and relatives throng around them 
to offer their congratulations and rub noses. The feast then begins, 
and is continued till evening, when a fire is lighted in the open air, 
and dancing takes place. This festival is continued for several days ; 
on the evening of the third day, the bridegroom takes his wife home. 

For ten days after the marriage, the house in which the bride lives 
is screened with mats, and she does not go out of it, but remains at 
home to receive her friends. When the wife is eight months enceinte 
for the first time, the friends and relatives of the husband prepare 
provisions and mats; those of the wife, provisions also, with iriris 
and oil. These are all taken to an amata, a house without a loft, 
of which there are several in each town, for the convenience of such 
assemblies. The two parties sit on opposite sides of the house, with 
their property ; two men, one from each side, stand up in the middle, 
and proceed to exchange the mats for iriris and the oil ; the provisions 
of one side for those of the other. The exchange is made with great 
care, so that each receives an equivalent. When this is finished, 
the parties gather up their exchanges and retire, leaving the married 
couple, whose presence was deemed necessary to sanction the sale, 
no better off than before. This custom is called katiro, and is often 
resorted to for making exchanges, on ordinary occasions. 

Children are often betrothed at an early age, sometimes as soon as 
born, in which case the ceremony of marriage is not deemed neces- 
sary. Polygamy, as before observed, is allowed to any extent, and 
limited only by the ability of the person to support his wives. On 
Makin, no marriage ceremony takes place, for every female child is 
betrothed as soon as born, usually to some near relative, who takes 
her to his house at whatever age he may think proper ; and those who 
are not so betrothed remain all their lives unmarried, forming tempo- 
rary connexions with the young men who are similarly situated. Of 
the latter there are great numbers, owing to the majority of the women 
being monopolized by the wealthy and powerful, to whom this custom 
affords every facility for obtaining wives. This state of things brings 
about, as is naturally to be expected, many intrigues and squabbles. 


At the birth of a child, the priest gives it a name, at the request of 
the father ; but if the infant should be taken sick soon afterwards, the 
first name is abandoned, and another adopted, in hopes that it may 
prove a more fortunate one ; for they believe that the illness may be 
owing to its name. It is very common to call a child after its grand- 

A woman has seldom more than two, and never more than three 
living children. After the birth of a third, they consider it necessary 
to prevent the increase of their families, and resort to that most 
unnatural means, a systematic abortion. So soon as a woman be- 
lieves herself to be enceinte for the third or fourth time, she deter- 
mines that the offspring shall not survive, and calls in the aid of an 
experienced midwife to destroy it, who effects the purpose by external 
pressure on the abdomen or back, and though not unattended with 
much pain and difficulty to the mother, the operation rarely proves 
fatal. This practice is looked upon without any sort of horror or 
shame, being considered as a necessary and proper means to prevent 
their families from becoming so large as to be a burden to them, and 
not because the island might become over-peopled, for this latter 
idea does not seem ever to have occurred to them. The practice of 
destroying the foetus is universal among the unmarried females, but 
children are never destroyed after birth. According to Wood, this 
custom does not prevail at Makin. 

There are professed tattooers, who are held in great estimation, 
and receive very high prices; this confines the art to the wealthy 
and those of rank. The young men are not tattooed before the age 
of twenty, and slaves never. The tattooing is mostly in short oblique 
lines, about the eighth of an inch apart. These are arranged in 
perpendicular rows, of which there are four or five down the back 
on each side of the spine, with a similar marking in front, beginning 
just below the collar-bone. The legs also are marked. 

The women are tattooed in the same manner, but not so much as 
the men. Owing to the lightness of the lines, and the distance 
between them, they do not show very conspicuously. The colouring 
matter used is charcoal, mixed with cocoanut-oil. The instrument 
employed is a piece of bone, cut like a fine-toothed comb, similar to 
that \ased at the Samoan Group. The tattooing is done at different 
times, to alleviate the pain which attends the operation. 

Of all their customs, the funeral ceremonies are the most remark- 


able. When a man dies, his body is taken to the mariapa, washed, 
and laid out on a clean mat, where it remains for eight days, and 
every day at noon it is taken into the sun, washed, and oiled. During 
this time the friends are engaged in wailing and singing praises of 
the dead, and dancing ; but they think it a great weakness to shed 
tears on such occasions. After this mourning, the body is sewed up 
in two mats, and sometimes buried in the house of the nearest rela- 
tives, the head being always turned towards the east. In other cases, 
it is stored away in the loft. When the flesh is nearly gone, the 
skull is taken off, carefully cleaned, oiled, and put away. The skulls 
of their ancestors are kept by chiefs as a kind of household deity, 
to which they frequently offer up prayers and entreaties, to have a 
regard and to keep watchful care over their descendants. The 
skulls are not unfrequently taken down, bound around with wreaths, 
anointed with oil, and have food set before them. In passing from 
one island to another, these skulls are always carried along, as if 
members of the family, and treated with every mark of reverence. 

The funeral ceremonies on Makin, according to Wood, are still 
more extraordinary ; but we have no good reason to doubt the facts, as 
they seem to be somewhat allied to those above related. After the 
first ceremonies of wailing, the body is washed and laid out upon a 
new mat, which is spread on a large oblong plate, made of several 
tortoise-shells sewed together. From two to six persons, according 
to the size of the corpse, seat themselves opposite to one another on 
the floor of the house, and hold this plate, with the body of their 
friend, on their knees. When tired, they are relieved by others, and 
in this way the service is kept up for a space of time varying from 
four months to two years, according to the rank of the deceased. All 
persons, whether freeborn or slaves, receive this treatment after death. 
During the continuance of this lying in state, a fire is kept constantly 
burning, both day and night, in the house, and its extinction would 
be regarded as a most unlucky omen.* At the end of the period, the 
remains are sometimes wrapped in mats, and stowed away in the loft 
of the house, but more commonly they are buried in a piece of 
ground set apart for the purpose. The grave is marked with three 
stones, one at the head, another at the foot, and one placed horizontally 
across these. 

* When the truth of this account was questioned, in consequence of the time that 
would be employed by the natives, Wood readily answered, that " One half of them have 
nothing else to do." 

vol. v. 28 


The skulls of the chiefs are preserved, and treated in the same 
way as at the other islands. 

From diseases the natives appear to be tolerably free. Consump- 
tions, and a kind of cholera morbus, are the most fatal. There were 
no cases of elephantiasis seen; but, as has been remarked in speaking 
of the islands separately, the kind of cutaneous disorder, called by 
the natives gune, prevails extensively ; this, at some stages of the 
disease, resembles the ringworm. It begins with this appearance, in 
a small circle, about an inch in diameter, covered with a scurf; the 
ring gradually increases in size, and when it becomes large, a smaller 
one forms within it; as this last increases, another forms within it, 
and in this way the affection continues to spread, unless arrested. 
Several circles often form on the body within a short distance of each 
other, the rings meet and become confluent, producing a variety of 
curved lines, and concentrical circles. The whole body becomes at 
length covered with this scurf, which is always attended by painful 
itching. This finally passes off, and leaves the skin seamed with an 
infinity of circles and wavy lines of a livid hue, and produces a most 
disgusting appearance ; in this stage it sometimes continues during 
the remainder of a person's life, without materially affecting his 
general health. At other times it assumes a more virulent character, 
in which case large excrescences like warts form, first on the face, or 
between the fingers and toes, and then in other parts. The softer 
portions of the face and body swell to double their natural size ; the 
person becomes unable to walk, or to move his limbs, until death 
at length overtakes and releases him from his sufferings. The 
natives call this disease sometimes gune-maior, or the southwest 
gune, from the fact that it was introduced into their islands from that 
direction ; and as the Peacock found it prevailing extensively at the 
Depeyster Islands, it is but reasonable to suppose that it came 
from that quarter. It was most prevalent at Taputeouea, the most 
southern of the Kingsmill Islands, and gradually becomes less so in 
the northern islands. Wood asserts that he has never seen a single 
case of it at Makin. 

The climate of these islands is equable, and though of high tempe- 
rature, it is found to be less oppressive than in most tropical coun- 
tries. For the most part constant breezes prevail, and frequent 
rain falls, which moderates the great heat, and at the same time con- 
fers fertility on the soil. From October to April, the time of the 
Peacock's visit, is the winter, and is especially distinguished by the 


frequency of rains. Variable winds from the northward and westward 
prevail at this season, and they have violent gales from the south- 
west : these, according to Kirby, are typhoon-like. The natives 
plant stakes to prop up their houses, and tie them down, to prevent 
them from being blown away. These storms last for three or four 
days, veering gradually round to the north. The leeward sides of 
the islands receive most damage, and both land and trees are swept 
away. Kirby states, that the lee side of Makin has worn away 
during his residence. In these gales the trunks of large trees are 
thrown on the west side of the island, together with large lumps 
of resin, similar to that found in the soil at New Zealand, which the 
natives use to scent their oils with : these trees, sometimes two feet 
in diameter, were thought to be of the pine species ; many stones 
are found in their roots, from eight to ten inches in diameter ; these 
are a fine basalt, and the natives use them for various purposes. 

From May till September the weather is fine, with clear skies, and 
only occasional showers; and during this time the wind blows con- 
stantly from the eastward. This is the season in which the natives 
make their voyages ; they never venture abroad in the winter months, 
even from island to island, being well aware of the danger of so 

Earthquakes are occasionally experienced in these islands. Kirby 
says he has felt ten or twelve sufficiently severe to shake down a 
house : the natives exhibit no fear on account of them. The direc- 
tion of the oscillations seems to be from the southwest. 

The population of the group, from the best data which was ob- 
tained, is about sixty thousand souls. At Drummond's Island, where 
there was the best opportunity of a personal examination, the estimates 
were above ten thousand : this is considered the most populous island 
of the whole group. On Apamama, Kirby saw collected from six to 
seven thousand warriors, belonging to it, Nanouki, and Kuria : the 
joint population of these three islands may therefore be reckoned at 
twenty-eight thousand ; it would seem reasonable to estimate the 
remaining twelve islands, which have been observed to be thickly 
inhabited, at the same number.* This apparently would give from 
four to five hundred inhabitants to the square mile ; for, if only the 
dry land were to be taken into the account, there would not be more 

* Wood estimates that of Makin at five thousand. 


than one hundred and fifty square miles ; but to this should be added 
the lagoons and sea around, from which in reality these natives derive 
the greatest part of their sustenance : this would increase the area to 
upwards of five hundred square miles, giving only one hundred and 
twenty inhabitants to the square mile for support. 

These islanders have had but very little communication with 
strangers ; and although they have occasionally been visited for the 
last forty years, but little change has been brought about by the 
intercourse. There is nothing to induce the visits of vessels, for little 
is to be had in the way of refreshment : neither wood nor water is 
procurable in any quantity, and there is nothing for a profitable 
exchange. Of course, therefore, only a few vessels anchor in their 
harbours ; of which, as has been pointed out, they have many good 
ones, an advantage not possessed by other low coral islands. 

The articles of trade being but few and trifling, only a very small 
amount of the manufactures of civilized nations have found their way 
into these islands. The southern islands have been most visited, in 
consequence of their lying more in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the whaling-ground ; the consequence has been that they have been 
able to obtain enough iron implements to have almost superseded 
those of native construction. The people of the southern islands 
have also imbibed an extraordinary fondness for tobacco; and these, 
with some diseases, may be said to constitute their acquisitions from 
the whites, to whose depraved appetites they at an early day learned 
to administer. 

The same causes that prevent them from being the resort of vessels 
also deter sailors from deserting ; and, as has been seen, both Kirby 
and Wood had become disgusted with the lives they led, and were 
glad to make their escape. From Kirby's account, there were only 
five more white men, and one black, on the islands. An English- 
man and an American reside on Nukunau, (Byron's Island,) the 
former of whom had become a high chief, and acquired much influ- 
ence ; but it is believed, from his being of a bad character, that the 
intercourse with him has not operated favourably on the natives. 
The other four are on Peru Island. 

In the dispositions of these natives there are some peculiarities : they 
are said to be subject to despondency and sullenness, that sometimes 
causes them to commit suicide. Kirby mentioned five instances on 
Kuria, of both men and women destroying themselves, and of several 


others who had attempted it, but were prevented by their friends. 
To terminate their lives they always resort to hanging on a tree. 
The motive to this act is generally the treatment they have received, 
or offence taken at the conduct of some person, whom affection or fear 
renders them unwilling to injure; the mortification and grief produced 
thereby leads them at last to suicide, which is considered by them as 
a remedy for their evils, as well as a severe revenge upon those who 
had ill-treated them. 

What constitutes the highest ambition among them, is to be con- 
sidered accomplished men of the world. They have a word in their 
language (mauda), which expresses one thoroughly instructed in all 
their arts, a good dancer, an able warrior, versed in all their know- 
ledge and sports, who has mixed in life, enjoyed its highest excite- 
ments and delights, both at home and abroad. Such a man in their 
estimation is the most exalted in character, and is fully qualified on 
dying to enter at once upon the enjoyments of Elysium. 

There is a striking contrast between the Pitt Islanders and those of 
the rest of the group ; and if they were originally the same people, 
which there does not seem to be any reason to doubt, it shows what 
a great alteration may be effected in the physical race, in the course 
of two or three generations, by the enjoyment of peace and plenty ; 
for while the one retains still all the savage and cruel propensities, 
the other has become mild and humane, — proving that a life free 
from wars, and all their harassing and distressing tendencies, even 
among savages, brings with it the practice of virtue. 

On completing the survey of the Kingsmill Group, Captain Hudson 
found it necessary to place his crew, and that of the tender, upon a 
reduced allowance of provisions and water. He then steered away to 
the northward, through the Mulgrave Islands ; and on the morning 
of the 3d of May, they made Pedder Island of Arrowsmith. The 
vessels passed along its west side, and through the Fordyce Passage, 
between it and Arrowsmith's Island. Daniel Island was also seen 
from aloft to the eastward. These islands are all of coral formation, 
with lagoons, and are inhabited. The southeast end of Arrowsmith's 
Island was found to be in latitude 7° 05' N., longitude 171° 23' 54" 
E. It is twenty miles long. 

On the 5th, they made the Pescadores, which was surveyed. Its 
position is in latitude 11° 23' 15" N., longitude 167° 36' 30" E. 
The Pescadores is of triangular shape and coral formation; it has 
on its reef several islets and some sand-spits : the former are covered 

vol. v. 29 


with a few low bushes, but it has no cocoa-nut or pandanus trees, 
and affords nothing but the pearl-oyster and turtles, in the season. 
The whole island is about thirty-two miles in circumference. Its 
greatest length, north and south, is ten miles, and the same between 
its east and west point. There are two entrances in the lagoon : one 
about the middle of the north side, the other on the east side. The 
island has no inhabitants, and is incapable of supporting any. From 
the description in Mr. Dowsett's journal, there is no doubt that this 
was the place where he and the boat's crew were either treacherously 
murdered, or made captives, and carried to another island ; and from 
the nature of the island, little doubt exists that the murderers were a 
transient fishing party, from some of the adjacent islands. All the 
facts that are known have been given previously. 

Korsakoff was in sight for two days ; but they were prevented from 
having communication with it by the boisterous state of the weather. 
On the afternoon of the 7th, an endeavour was made by a canoe to 
reach the ship, but without success : the sea was too rough for the 
boats to live, and the surf too great to permit a landing. Although a 
few persons were seen upon it, yet nothing showed that it was per- 
manently inhabited. The appearance of Korsakoff was the same as 
that of the Pescadores, without any vegetable productions capable of 
sustaining life. 

Korsakoff, though represented as one island on the charts, was 
found to be two. The smaller one lies to the southward of the larger, 
and is fourteen miles long by three wide. The larger island is about 
twenty-six miles long, trending northeast and southwest. It has an 
entrance into its lagoon on the south side. 

Captain Hudson now came to the conclusion that his time would 
not permit hirn to proceed any further to the westward ; indeed, the 
time appointed in his instructions to be at the Columbia river had 
already passed, and he was now distant from it upwards of four 
thousand miles, and would require some sixty or seventy days, in all 
probability, to reach the Northwest Coast. 

This caused the abandonment of his visit to Strong's and Ascension 
Islands, two points I was in hopes would have been reached, not only 
for the information to be derived from a visit, but I was desirous of 
having a full knowledge of those islands. I also wished to break up 
what was deemed a nest of rogues, and to be the means of recovering 
the property plundered in the several captures made by them, if any 
of it remained. 


Captain Hudson, on the 8th, gave Mr. Knox orders to survey and 
land on Korsakoff, and thence proceed to Oahu, with all despatch ; 
upon which the Peacock and tender parted company, for the purpose 
of avoiding detention by sailing together. The Peacock lost the 
trades in latitude 24° N. On the 18th, Captain Hudson was obliged 
to issue an order to put a stop to the exercise of the guns, on account 
of the decayed state of their carriages. On the 19th, they passed 
near the position of the doubtful island of Patrocinio, but without 
seeing any land. On the 20th, they fell in with great quantities of 
Janthina: this was in latitude 26° N., longitude 168° E. On the 
21st, in latitude 28° 54' N., longitude 177° E., the Anatifa were 
met with : they continued in vast quantities as far as latitude 35° 
N., and were seen as far east as longitude 164° W. Some of the 
patches were miles in extent, trending in a southeast-by-east and 
northwest-by-west direction. On the map showing the currents 
and whaling-grounds, I have marked the spaces occupied in the 
North Pacific, over which the soft mollusc have been found. By 
our observations it is equal in area to four hundred thousand square 
miles. The currents experienced on this cruise will be found 
exhibited on the Track Map, in the small atlas, as well as the 

On the 5th of June, they fell in with the whale-ship Magnolia, 
which supplied them with about two hundred gallons of water, and 
a few potatoes. On the 13th, in latitude 24° N., they again found 
the trades. 

On the 14th, they made the island of Oahu, but falling under 
the lee of the island, Captain Hudson despatched Lieutenant Perry 
and Mr. Speiden, the purser, to order the necessary supplies for the 
ship at Honolulu, to avoid any unnecessary detention there ; they did 
not, however, reach their destination until late in the evening of the 
same day, where they found the Flying-Fish had arrived the day 
previous. Our consul, Mr. Brinsmade, hearing that the Peacock 
was in the offing, with his usual kindness and attention, filled a boat 
with provisions, and went off to her ; these proved a very acceptable 
treat after the short allowance they had been on for the previous sixty 

On the morning of the 16th, the Peacock anchored in the port of 
Honolulu. Captain Hudson now made every exertion to take in 
provisions, and overhaul the ship ; the crew were allowed liberty of 
twenty-four hours, by dividing them into three parts, and one-third 
permitted to go ashore at a time, while the rest attended to the duty. 



The two men, Wood and Kirby, were given over to the consul of 
Her Britannic Majesty. 

By the 21st, they had embarked the provisions and finished the 
necessary repairs, when they sailed for the Columbia river. 

In the latitude of 40° N., they met with Anatifa and Vellela, the 
ocean being literally covered with them : these continued to latitude 
43° N., and between the longitude of 154° and 157° W. The tem- 
perature of the air was 51°, that of the water 53°. The weather had 
now become cold, damp, and cloudy. Until they reached the latitude 
of 45° N., they had the wind constantly from the eastern quarter; but 
after passing that parallel, it veered to the west-southwest, and so con- 
tinued for several days, when it hauled to the southeast, and remained 
between that point and south, until they reached soundings off the 
bar of the Columbia river, on the 17th of July, the day prior to the 
wreck, of which I have already spoken. 

I cannot close this account of the cruise of the Peacock and Flying- 
Fish, without saying a few words in relation to the activity which this 
cruise evinces in Captain Hudson, his officers, and crew : this will be 
shown in a strong light, by stating the simple fact, that during this 
voyage the Peacock had sailed upwards of nineteen thousand miles ; 
was two hundred and sixty days at sea, and only twenty-two in port; 
and that during the whole time, although they were exposed to great 
vicissitudes of climate, and had been long on short allowance, they 
returned to port without a single sick man on board. 








The Vincennes having sailed, I at once set about preparing for the 
survey of the river. I found that, agreeably to my first instructions, 
Captain Hudson had lost no time in despatching the parties for 
the interior, but the orders I had sent by Mr. Waldron, arrested 
their progress. I issued these orders, because I anticipated that it 
would be necessary to make some change in the route they were to 
pursue ; and in the mean time they would have more opportunity to 
prepare themselves for the journey. 

Finding that Mr. Dana had not set out for the interior, I now saw 
and regretted the necessity of countermanding the orders for the 
party that was destined for the Rocky Mountains. 

The boats of the Peacock were ordered to be fully manned and 
fitted out with all the requisites for surveying duties, and officers 
attached to each. 

On the morning of the 9th, we began the survey. Some time 
had been before spent in taking a few angles and soundings, but with 
so little success, that- 1 rejected the whole. The weather proved 
unfavourable for any of our operations, except that of putting up 
signals. We encamped at night on the small sandy island in the 
centre of the bay, where we were very uncomfortable, for the sand 
flew about and covered every thing. In the morning we had a thick 
fog, when I determined to go to Baker's Bay, where we could obtain 
water ; for that of the Columbia is not fresh as low down as this 

We found the tide exceedingly strong, and having some apprehen- 


sions that the boats might lose their way, I thought it better for us 
to make for the Chinook shore, and follow it until we reached the 
cape. It may seem strange that this precaution should be taken, but 
it is necessary at all times, even in clear weather ; for the tide is 
frequently so strong, that it cannot be stemmed by oars ; and too 
much caution cannot be observed in passing across the bay. As 
little frequented as it is, many accidents have occurred to boats and 
canoes, by their being swept by the tide into the breakers on the bar, 
where all hands have perished. The Indians are very cautious, and 
it is only at certain, times of the tide that they will attempt to make 
the passage. 

We reached Baker's Bay in two hours, and formed our encamp- 
ment; and here we determined to remain until the weather should 
become clear, and allow us to proceed with our duties. 

As no news had been received from Passed Midshipman Eld's 
party, whom it will be recollected I had despatched from Nisqually 
to Gray's Harbour, by the Chickeeles, and as the time for which he 
had provisions had expired, I became apprehensive lest some accident 
might have detained him. I therefore despatched Lieutenant De 
Haven and Acting-Master Baldwin, with a few Indians, along the 
coast to Gray's Harbour, which is about forty miles distant, to convey 
a supply of provisions for that party, and to bring intelligence of 
them. This duty was executed by these gentlemen with prompt- 
ness, and they reported that the party were struggling with diffi- 
culties of no ordinary character, of which I shall have occasion to 
speak hereafter. 

The weather continued rainy and cold ; but this did not seem to 
trouble our native pilots, Ramsey and his brother George. While 
we were preparing our huts, these men were seen upon the bank, 
deliberately stripping off their clothes, which they carefully folded 
up, and placed upon the ground for pillows; they then lay down, 
and covering themselves with a blanket, slept as sound as if on beds 
of down. I happened to see them arising in the morning, and they 
appeared refreshed and perfectly content, although it had rained hard 
all night. 

These men were exceedingly fond of rum, the hope of obtaining 
which, when the daily ration was served out, was the great induce- 
ment that led them to accompany our parties. 

These two were good specimens of the Flathead Indians, and I was 



therefore pleased at having an opportunity of sketching them with 
the camera lucida, of which sketches the annexed cuts are copies. 

Before I reached Astoria, Captain Varney, of the brig Thomas H. 
Perkins, had proposed to sell his vessel to the government, provided 
he could arrange his affairs with Dr. M'Laughlin. I now learned 
that Dr. M'Laughlin had arrived at Astoria, for which place I set 
out in the afternoon, in company with Captain Hudson. We em- 
barked in the tender, but after proceeding some distance, we found it 
impossible to reach Astoria. We therefore returned to Baker's Bay, 
which we had some difficulty in reaching. 

The next day we succeeded in reaching Astoria, and found that 
the arrangements for the purchase of the brig could be effected, and 
I therefore bought her for the United States for nine thousand dol- 
lars, after having her thoroughly examined by the carpenters of the 
squadron. On taking possession of this brig, I changed her name to 
that of " the Oregon." 

This acquisition released me from much anxiety, by providing 
accommodations for the crew of the Peacock, and at the same time 
affording a suitable vessel to continue the operations of the squadron. 
Captain Hudson took charge of the Oregon, and the alterations 
necessary to adapt her for this service were at once commenced. 
After making these arrangements, Dr. M'Laughlin departed for 
Vancouver. He gave a passage to Messrs. Hale and Dana, Messrs. 
Peale and Rich having previously gone up the river. These gen- 
tlemen had already visited the country around the mouth of the 
Columbia, every opportunity having been afforded them by Captain 

VOL. V. 31 


Hudson. Several of the officers visited the mountain ranges, but did 
not succeed in ascending the highest peaks. 

During the occupation of Astoria by the Expedition, the place 
became quite civilized-looking, in comparison to what it was on my 
first arrival, and a mart for all the commodities of the country. 
Besides our own men, there were many Indians to be seen lounging 
and moving about, seeking employment, or with some small articles 
to sell. Short excursions were made by many of us in the vicinity, 
and one of these was to visit the primeval forest of pines in the rear 
of Astoria, a sight well worth seeing. Mr. Drayton took a camera 
lucida drawing of one of the largest trees, which the opposite plate 
is engraved from. It conveys a good idea of the thick growth of 
the trees, and is quite characteristic of this forest. The soil on 
which this timber grows is rich and fertile, but the obstacles to the 
agriculturist are almost insuperable. The largest tree of the sketch 
was thirty-nine feet six inches in circumference, eight feet above the 
ground, and had a bark eleven inches thick. The height could not 
be ascertained, but it was thought to be upwards of two hundred and 
fifty feet, and the tree was perfectly straight. 

It was the season of the fishery when the Peacock was wrecked, 
and the Kilamukes, Clatsops, and Chinooks, were collected in the 
neighbourhood. Many of these came with their families, and took 
up their abode near Astoria ; for it costs them little trouble to move all 
their worldly goods. They generally had for sale salmon, venison, 
sturgeon, moccasins, and mats. 

When the crew first landed, eight or ten salmon might be bought 
for a cotton shirt, or its value in red or green baize ; but the Indians 
soon found that higher prices might be obtained for the asking, and 
before our departure from the Columbia river, the price was en- 
hanced one half. 

The vicious propensities of the Indians were seen here, as they 
appear around all the posts of the Hudson Bay Company, or where 
strangers are encamped : gambling is the vice to which they are most 
prone. Both sexes are equally filthy, and I am inclined to believe 
will continue so ; for their habits are inveterate, and from all the 
accounts I could gather from different sources, there is reason to 
believe that they have not improved or been benefited by their con- 
stant intercourse with the whites, except in a very few cases. It is 
indeed probable that the whole race will be extinguished ere long, 


from the natural effects of their mode of life, even if no pestilential 
disease should come among them to sweep them off in a single 

I saw more of their gambling here, and the lengths to which they 
carry it, than in any other place, in consequence of having occasion 
to come oftener in contact with them. The game most practised was 
played by one of them concealing two small sticks in the hand so 
adroitly as to elude scrutiny, while the others guessed which hand 
contained them. Two parties play at this, sitting upon different 
sides of a large board ; and whilst the concealment of the stick is 
going on, they keep up a kind of chaunt and beating with the sticks. 
to produce confusion and noise, in order to distract the attention of 
the players. The air they sing is — 

• ~~i i r~ 



121 LJI 


j» #_ 

i r 

Wa ich e - e Wa 

I . . 



ich e - e Wa - ich Wa - ich. 

This game seems to amuse them, not only for hours but for whole 
nights, and the great cause of excitement lies in the stakes. Ten is 
game, and the party lose or win two at each guess. 

They have another sport, which seemed to be the favourite with 
the Indians around Vancouver : this is played with a number of disks 
of bone or ivory, of the size of a quarter of a dollar, one of which 
differs from the rest. These are concealed in tow or fibrous hemp, 
and the guessing takes place in the same way. With these disks the 
players make a great noise by shaking them in their hands. There 
is great attention required in those who venture to play the game ; 
and such appears to be its fascination, that I have seen them deprive 
themselves of one garment or article after another, until they were 
entirely destitute; and it is even said they often stake the freedom, 
not only of themselves, but of their children. 

At Astoria we saw one day, when there was quite a crowd of In- 
dians at the encampment, several squaws all dressed in their best 
attire. These were all more than usually attentive to their personal 

The principal among them was a widow, whose time of mourning 


for the death of her husband had just expired. Her object was to 
notify her friends that she was ready to receive the addresses of any 
one who was in want of a wife. To give such notification was, as I 
found on inquiry, a common custom among the Chinooks. 

The widow was of masculine make, and what we would call a 
buxom dame. She was attended by seven others, of small stature in 
comparison, who were her maids, and all evidently accompanied her 
to do honour to the occasion. Every half hour they would arrange 
themselves in a row, and the widow at their head, affecting a modest 
downcast look, would commence a chaunt, informing the bystanders 
that her period of mourning was out, that she had forgotten her 
deceased husband, given her grief to the winds, and was now ready 
to espouse another. This chaunt was accompanied by a small 
movement of the feet and body, which, with the guttural song and 
consequent excitement of such an exhibition, caused the fair ones to 
wax so warm that the perspiration rolled down their painted cheeks ; 
this, with the crimson flush, all tended to add brilliancy to their dark 
eyes, as they were now and then cast around upon the multitude of 
Indians, who seemed all admiration. I did not ascertain whether 
the fair one succeeded in winning a second husband, but I am 
satisfied that her exertions were such as ought to have obtained 
her one. 

The Chinook and Kilamuke tribes entertain, as I was informed, 
the idea of a future state, in their hunting-grounds, which, in their 
language, they call Tamath. The road to them is supposed to be 
difficult, and none but those who are of good character can go there, 
by the road which is called O-tu-i-huti, a term by which they call 
the Via Lactea. They have a strong belief that all their departed 
relatives and friends have a guard over them, and prevent evil from 
approaching them. Each Indian has his tamanuus, or spirit, which 
is selected by him at a very early age, and is generally the first 
object they see in going out to the woods, that has animal life. 
Others create from their imagination one that has never met mortal 
eyes. The choice of a spirit, however insignificant it may appear, 
has a great influence on their after-life ; for, by its supposed com- 
mands, they are directed to good or evil, as they conceive that a 
nonconformity to its wishes would involve them in a multitude of 
evils, for they suppose it is able to destroy health, or preserve it, or 
inflict miseries without end. 

They at times, and particularly when in the water, pretend to hold 


converse with it, and talk to themselves in a low, monotonous tone of 

Ikaui is the name of their most powerful god : to him they ascribe 
the creation of all things. A mountain is called after him, from its 
being supposed that he was there turned into stone, and they point 
out the principal rock, which rises in a pyramidal shape, as his 

They believe that their departed friends and relatives have a 
knowledge of what is going on among the living; and they, in 
consequence, will not eat in sight of the dead, nor laugh, for fear 
their mouths will be turned askew. With the dead, they bury, as in 
other parts of Oregon, their guns, knives, pots, and kettles ; and I was 
informed that these articles would not be stolen when thus deposited. 
I presume, however, that such is not the fact, for I observed that these 
things had always been previously rendered useless, by either being 
burnt, or having holes punched through them, in order to take away 
the temptation to theft. Formerly, slaves were not unfrequently killed 
at a chief's funeral, in order to bury them with their masters. They 
speak of the dead walking at night, when they are supposed to awake, 
and get up to search for food. They have many superstitions, that 
have been already noticed, of which that relating to the salmon is the 
most singular, and the most strictly adhered to. 

The god who made the Columbia river, and all the fish in it, they 
call Italupus. He taught their ancestors how to procure fire, make 
nets, and catch fish. The first salmon caught are all tabooed, and 
they dare not sell them ; they must all be cut up and cooked the day 
they are caught. A dog must never be permitted to eat the heart of 
a salmon ; and in order to prevent this, they cut the heart of the fish 
out before they sell it. 

Italupus is supposed to nourish the salmon, and cause them to be 
abundant during the whole summer, that they may lay up their store 
of it for the winter. 

Having completed all the arrangements, and the weather becoming 
fine, on the 16th we resumed our duties in the survey, which was 
now carried on with spirit. The stations being established, and the 
triangulation completed, the tender, with two boats, was left to sound 
out the bay, while the remaining part of the force was moved up the 
river, to continue the surveys, in company with the Porpoise and 
Oregon; for I now found it necessary that both vessels should proceed 
up to Vancouver. This was not only to insure a more thorough outfit 

vol. v. 32 


for the Oregon, but it also served to forward the surveying duties, 
and to afford the officers and men such quarters at night as would 
protect them from the sickly season, that was approaching, and of 
which we had received such unfavourable accounts. The plan 
adopted for the survey of this river will be given in the Hydrogra- 
phical Memoir. 

On the 18th of August, I left Astoria with the Porpoise and 
Oregon to continue the survey. We reached Tongue Point, where 
we anchored, previously to crossing thence to the opposite side of 
the river, through the crooked channel which was then believed to 
be the only passage by which a vessel of any class could ascend the 

On the 19th, the vessels attempted to pass through this channel, 
but on entering it they both took the ground. The tide was at its 
full height, and soon began to fall, when the Porpoise began to keel 
over, until she fell on her beam-ends. We were in hopes that the 
night tide would be sufficient to float her off, but we found its rise 
less by nearly a foot than that of the day ; it therefore became neces- 
sary to make extraordinary exertions to prepare for the next day's 
tide by buoying her up with casks, which, fortunately, we had at 
hand, on board the Oregon. It now became necessary to float her 
off, in order to avoid a second failure. We therefore had recourse to 
passing her chain cable under her bottom, to which a line of casks 
was lashed on the weather side, at the same time the launch was 
suspended as a weight from her masthead to preserve her in the same 
position. The hawsers that had been landed at Astoria by our store- 
vessels were sent for and attached to the brig's anchors, and so placed 
as to haul her at once into the deepest water and through the narrow 
pass. When all was prepared, a strong wind arose from the seaward, 
and caused a swell which broke adrift some of the casks, leaving suffi- 
cient, however, to float her before high water. 

I was much relieved when I saw her again afloat, for I had felt 
not a little anxious lest in the drifting sands of the river she might 
have formed a bed, which would have placed it out of our power to 
get her off before the next spring tides, and would have compelled 
us to discharge all her guns, &c. Although this would have been 
attended with a great deal of trouble, it would have been of little 

* A channel which we afterwards discovered, leads directly upwards from Tongue 
Point, and affords every desirable facility for the navigation of the Columbia river. 


consequence compared with the loss of time, which we could ill afford 
to spare. 

After getting her off, we ran up the river a few miles, and anchored 
just below the Pillar Rock, and opposite to Waikaikum. Waikai- 
kum belongs to a chief named Skamakewea, and is a large lodge, 
picketed around with planks. 

Mr. Hale passed two days there, and obtained much interesting 
information from him relative to his tribe. This chief formerly had 
a large tribe under him, but since the year 1830 the fever has de- 
stroyed them nearly all. The portion of this country more imme- 
diately affected by this scourge, extends along the banks of the river 
from the ocean to the Cascades ; but that part of it which is within 
the influence of the ocean tides, is the least subject to its ravages. 
When an Indian contracts this disease, he seldom recovers, for the 
treatment he goes through is sufficient to kill a person in good health. 

Pillar Rock is called by the Indians Taluaptea, after the name of a 
chief, who in bygone days lived at the falls of the Columbia, and 
who, having incurred the displeasure of their spirit, called Talapos, 
was turned into a rock, and placed where he would be washed by the 
waters of the great river. The rock is twenty-five feet high, and 
only ten feet square at its top : it is composed of conglomerate or pud- 
ding-stone, and is fast crumbling to pieces. I found great difficulty 
in ascending it. 

The next morning, in proceeding up the river to carry on the 
survey, one of the small boats of the Porpoise that we had in tow 
was, through the negligence of her crew, capsized. Every thing in 
her except her oars was lost, and in addition to this the accident 
caused us much detention. 

In the afternoon we reached Katalamet Point, and anchored at the 
lower end of Puget Island, where we passed the next day (Sunday). 
On Monday we again resumed our surveying duties, and reached 
Oak Point, where the river takes a turn to the southward and east- 
ward. On the 24th, Lieutenant Emmons joined me, and received 
his instructions to pass through the country to the south, and join the 
ship at San Francisco. His instructions will be found in Appendix IV. 
Just before reaching Walker's Island we ran aground, by the pilot 
mistaking his marks, but were soon relieved. In the evening of the 
next day, we reached Mount Coffin, at the mouth of the Cowlitz. 
This mount afforded a favourable point for astronomical observations, 


being seven hundred and ten feet high, and quite isolated. The 
canoes used by the Indians as coffins are seen upon it in every direc- 
tion, in all stages of decay. They are supported between trees, at the 
height of four or five feet above the ground, and about them are hung 
the utensils that had belonged to the deceased, or that had been 
offered as tokens of respect. 

I remained the whole day on the top of this mount, and obtained 
a full set of observations ; the weather being remarkably clear and 
beautiful. Here my boat's crew carelessly omitted to extinguish 
the fire they had used for cooking our dinner, and as we were pulling 
off to the brig, I regretted to see that the fire had spread, and was en- 
veloping the whole area of the mount ; but there was no help for it. 
The fire continued to rage throughout the night, until all was burnt. 
I took the earliest opportunity of explaining to the Indians who were 
in the neighbourhood, that the fire was accidental ; and, after receiving 
a few small presents, they appeared satisfied that it was so. But a few- 
years earlier, the consequence of such carelessness would have been 
a hostile attack, that might have involved us in difficulty of no 
ordinary kind. We had a minor punishment to undergo, for the 
smoke was so great that it enveloped all the signals towards the 
mouth of the river, and made it necessary for me to anchor within 
sight of Mount Coffin till the next morning. 

Before reaching the mouth of the Willamette, better known here as 
the Wapautoo Branch, a long flat extends across the river, where we 
were again unfortunately detained a few hours, by getting aground. 
Warrior's Point, the locality where Mr. Wyeth proposed to erect 
his great city of the west, was passed ; and on the 28th, at sun- 
set, we anchored off Vancouver. Here we found that Sir George 
Simpson had arrived over-land from Canada, on a tour of inspection, 
and on his way to visit the Russian settlement at Sitka. The next 
morning we had a visit from him, accompanied by Dr. M'Laughlin, 
Mr. Douglass, Mr. Rowan, and Mr. Von Freeman, of the Russian 

Sir George Simpson left England the preceding month of March, 
and was to return thither by way of Kamtschatka: a journey which 
he hoped to perform in less than two years. He had seen much 
service while acting as an officer of the Hudson Bay Company, 
from which he has retired, and in which he now holds no share. 
Since his retirement, he is employed by the stockholders of the Com- 


pany, as the inspector of all the departments, and to report upon the 
state of the trading posts ; this leaves him free to act without pre- 

The mode of apportioning the profits of the Company is as follows : 
after a certain per centage is paid to the stockholders who own the 
capital, the surplus is divided among the active partners, including 
the chief factor, traders, &c, who are thus all interested in the profits 
arising from their own exertions. In order that Sir George Simpson 
may be impartial in adjusting and reporting on the affairs, he re- 
ceives a salary of two thousand pounds a year. Sir George has been 
lately knighted, for projecting and superintending the outfits of the 
voyage of his nephew, who completed the discoveries in the north, 
and the history of whose melancholy end has become so well known 
to all interested in Arctic discoveries. 

Captain Hudson, the officers, and myself were invited to partake 
of a formal dinner at Vancouver : on this occasion, all the functionaries 
of the Company were present, and each individual seemed to have his 
place assigned him. It reminded me of the description of a feast of 
feudal times, for there were many " below the salt." 

Like all great dinners, it was stiff and formal. Sir George Simpson 
occupied the head of the table, and there were none but men present. 
Their wives seem to be little thought of, but for what reason I 
could not imagine, as many of them were highly worthy of notice. 
Their frequent exertions in protecting the settlements and their 
husbands, show a devotion to them and their interests, that is highly 
commendable ; and why they should not be treated as their equals, I 
am at a loss to conceive. They will bear an advantageous comparison 
with any others who have had so few opportunities. Those whom I 
saw exhibited both propriety of behaviour and modesty of deport- 
ment. It may perhaps be, that their seclusion from mixed society 
is their own choice ; but such a regulation cannot but tend to prevent 
improvement, and retard advancement in civilization. 

The Columbia river was now very different in appearance from 
what it had been in the month of June. The stream was confined 
within its narrowest limits, and was nineteen feet below high-water 

The Indians were now encamped on the strands, over which the 
volume of water had rushed, in its swollen state, with irresistible 
force. Vancouver exhibited the aspect of an extensive farming esta- 

vol. v. 33 


blishment, with its well-stored granaries, stacks of grain, &c. All 
showed that the crops had been plentiful, and gave ample proof of 
the industry and success of agriculture. 

Soon after the wreck of the Peacock, Captain Hudson, hearing that 
Dr. M'Laughlin was in want of hands to aid him in the harvest, 
despatched the Kanakas belonging to the Peacock up to Vancouver, 
to assist in gathering it. It afforded some little pleasure to con- 
tribute this aid, and thus in some small degree to repay the attentions 
and kindness of the Company's officers. 

While at Vancouver, my time was taken up by the astronomic and 
magnetic observations. The former gave its position in longitude 
122° 39' 34-6" W., and latitude 45° 36' 53" N. 

Having understood, from the gentlemen at Vancouver, that both 
Mr. David Douglass and Captain Belcher had found some discre- 
pancies in their magnetic observations, which were quite unaccount- 
able ; and as they had experimented within the fort, I determined to 
make mine in my tent, on the banks of the river, where no apparent 
local attraction existed. There were, notwithstanding, some irregu- 
larities which I could not account for. 

While I was thus engaged, Captain Hudson carried on the repairs 
of the Oregon with great rapidity. The articles necessary for this 
purpose, which we ourselves were not able to supply, were cheerfully 
furnished us, at reasonable prices, from the stores and workshops of 
the Company. Indeed, nothing could exceed the kind attentions that 
were lavished upon us; and the moment we expressed a desire, it 
was immediately complied with. 

On the 21st of September, Passed Midshipmen Eld and Colvoco- 
ressis, with Mr. Brackenridge and party, arrived. Orders were 
immediately given for them to join Lieutenant Emmons's party, 
on the Willamette; and they were finally despatched on the tour 
through to California. 

It will be remembered that Passed Midshipmen Eld and Colvoco- 
ressis were ordered to make a journey through the Chickeeles 
country, to Gray's Harbour, just as the ship was getting under way 
from Nisqually, and that circumstances rendered their departure 
more hurried than it was desirable it should be. But through the 
kindness of Mr. Anderson and Captains M'Niel and Scarborough, 
the party was not left in want of any thing very material. 

The party under command of Mr. Eld, consisted of Passed Mid- 


shipman Colvocoressis, Mr. Brackenriclge, Sergeant Stearns, privates 
Rodgers and Dinsman, John Brooks (seaman), Thomas Ford and 
Henry Waltham (ordinary seamen), with a half-breed boy, named 
Joe, who was to act as their interpreter. 

They left Nisqually on the 19th of July, and proceeded towards 
one of the southwest arms of Puget Sound (of which we had but a 
few days before finished the survey) in two canoes, that had been 
purchased. They were sorry craft, but better could not be procured, 
and Mr. Eld was not disposed to delay on account of imaginary 
difficulties. His instructions will be found in Appendix XIV., 
Vol. IV. 

I had told him he might be absent for forty days on his own 
resources, as I calculated he would, by the assistance of the Indians, 
be able to obtain both fish and game. I also enjoined upon him great 
attention to economy in the use of his provisions. 

On the same evening, he arrived within a short distance of the 
portage ; and the next morning Mr. Colvocoressis went, with the 
sergeant and boy, to an old squaw chief, who had promised, at Nis- 
qually, to be their guide to the Sachap river, and to furnish horses 
and men to cross the portage. They returned at an early hour, 
without either horses or Indians, but with a promise that they were 
to be furnished the next day. The next morning they found that 
the chief had arrived, with five horses and a number of Indians, and 
was ready to transport the baggage. Some time, however, elapsed 
before an arrangement could be made for the large canoe, which was 
thought to be too heavy to transport ; but this was finally settled by 
the same personage offering another in lieu of it, which, though of 
smaller dimensions, was accepted. Ten Indians were furnished to 
transport it and the rest of the articles, and they were soon in a 
condition to move. This despatch was principally owing to the 
directions and management of this squaw chief, who seemed to 
exercise more authority than any that had been met with ; indeed, 
her whole character and conduct placed her much above those 
around her. Her horses were remarkably fine animals ; her dress 
was neat, and her whole establishment bore the indications of Indian 
opulence. Although her husband was present, he seemed under 
such good discipline, as to warrant the belief that the wife was the 
ruling power or, to express it in more homely language, "wore the 

The portage was easily accomplished : it passes through a forest of 


lofty spruce and maple trees, with an undergrowth of common hazel 
and spiraea ; its length was four miles. The soil was composed of a 
shallow, black, sandy, vegetable earth. 

On their route they passed three small prairies, one of which was 
about ten acres in extent, and lay on the northwest side of a lake : the 
lake, called Sachal by the Indians, was examined, and found to be 
one and a half miles in length, and three-fourths of a mile in breadth. 
It is surrounded on all sides by willow and alders ; the soil about it 
was a light brown sandy loam ; the forest extends down to the water, 
which is of a dark brown colour, as if tinged with vegetable matter : 
this, however, was not the case, for on taking the water up in a glass, 
it was found pure and crystal-like. 

A line of soundings was taken across the lake, by which five and a 
quarter fathoms was found to be the greatest depth. It was said to 
abound in fish, but they did not succeed in taking any. In the lake 
were quantities of yellow lilies (Nuphar lutea), pond-weed (Pota- 
mogeton) of two species, and a water-lily (Nymphsea). 

Mr. Eld was told that there was another lake to the northeast, and 
set out with Mr. Colvocoressis, to visit it. The supposed lake was 
reached after a walk of five miles over the same kind of country, and 
proved to be only a pond, about two hundred yards in diameter, quite 
shallow, and covered, like the former, with water-lilies. 

After their return they broke up the encampment, and embarking 
in their canoes on Lake Sachal, passed to its southern end, where 
they entered the river of the same name. This appeared at first 
almost impassable, for it was for four miles almost choked lip with the 
Sparganium, Nnphar, &c, so that it was difficult to pass even with 
the small canoe. Its breadth was from twenty to sixty feet, and it 
was from three to twelve feet deep. The turns were sometimes so 
short, that the large canoe would be in contact with the thickets on 
the banks at both ends, and it required much force to drag her along, 
by pulling by the branches, and caused great labour in cutting their 
way. They also unfortunately lost their hatchet, which afterwards 
proved a serious mishap. 

They were obliged to continue their course down the river, until 
nine o'clock at night, before they could find any place to encamp, on 
account of the bog and jungle. At that hour they came to a small 
green spot, occupied by a party of Indians. Here Mr. Eld obtained 
some altitudes of the north star for latitude ; and the next day, being 
compelled to make a portage of two miles to avoid an impassable part 


of the river, he employed himself, during the time it was making, in 
getting a full set of equal altitudes. By 6 p. M. they had carried 
every thing across and embarked ; but the river was full of sand-bars, 
shallow rapids, and sunken snags, which often compelled them to 
drag the canoe over by main force. The land on both sides of the 
river is flat, marshy, and well wooded. Among the trees were many 
ash. They stopped for the night at an Indian camp. Mr. Eld 
endeavoured to induce the old chief to accompany him down the 
river ; but he declined, assigning as a reason that he was afraid of 
the Chinooks. He boasted that he was the chief of the Sachal tribe; 
but as the party had met with but two or three other Indians during 
the route, they were at a loss to know where the tribe resided. 

On the 24th, they again embarked on the river, and had another 
fatiguing day ; but being now provided with poles, they succeeded 
better in navigating the canoe. When they had proceeded some 
distance, they were overtaken by the squaw chief and her husband, 
who passed them quickly in a light canoe. During the day they saw 
several deserted native huts, situated on small prairies, extending 
back some distance from the river, and in the rear, on either side, 
were seen hills rising to the height of about fifteen hundred feet. No 
kind of rock had been observed on their route, except a single block of 
granite, which was passed on one of the prairies near Lake Sachal. 
The weather, for the few last days, had been fine and clear. 

On the 25th, they set out at an early hour, and in passing one of 
the rapids in the large canoe, it came in contact with a snag, which 
tore off part of the gunwale, and half filled the canoe with water. 
At ten o'clock they reached the place where the Sachal enters the 
Chickeeles, which is there one hundred and fifty feet wide, and runs 
with a rapid current. The bottom was gravelly, and the surface 
smooth, except where a sand and gravel bar stretched across the river, 
in a direction about east-northeast. One lonely Indian was met at the 
junction, from whom they bought some pieces of dried elk. 

The soil on both sides of the river, for about one-third of a mile 
back, was a deep, rich, alluvial loam, overgrown with poplar, willow, 
dogwood, and alder, with an undergrowth of raspberry. On the 
26th, the old chief joined the party, and they all proceeded down 
the river together, to the point where the Kluckullum enters the 
Chickeeles, where they halted. No inducement could prevail upon 
the chief to serve as a guide up the Sachap, another branch of the 

vol. v. 34 


In the afternoon they encamped at the mouth of the Sachap, and 
Mr. Eld made preparations to set out early the next morning, to 
explore it, having obtained a guide from among the Indians they 
met with at a fishing station in the vicinity. No fish, however, were 
to be procured, but on their descent they came upon several large 
flocks of teal, out of which Mr. Brackenridge killed four. 

At an early hour on the 27th, Mr. Eld, Sergeant Stearns, and two 
men, set out on their jaunt up the Sachap, in a small canoe. About 
eight miles from the camp they came to the place where the river 
forks, forming the Sachap and Tarqucorau; here they took horses, 
and proceeded eight miles farther, in a northeasterly direction, and 
encamped in a small prairie. Neither of the two rivers is penetrable 
by a canoe, so overgrown and choked up are they with bushes and 
bogs. Just at sunset they passed a party of Suquamish Indians, who 
were very anxious that Mr. Eld should encamp with them ; but this 
he declined doing, and preferred passing some distance beyond. 

On the morning of the 28th, they again started at an early hour, 
and passed through a very rough and apparently little frequented 
country. The guide had much difficulty in finding his way through 
a forest which the fire had partly consumed. At 9 h 30 m they recrossed 
the Sachap, which was there a small brook, about twenty feet wide, 
coming from a northwest direction. It was but knee-deep, and 
clogged with large logs and trees. Shortly after passing this stream, 
the country grew so rough that it was impossible to proceed farther 
with the horses, and the guide told Mr. Eld that he would be 
obliged to leave them. As no notice of this difficulty in the route 
had been previously given, it was natural for Mr. Eld to suspect that 
his guides were forming some scheme to deceive him, and go off 
with his property. Deeming it proper to come to a right under- 
standing, and to make the guide aware that he was on the look-out 
to punish any attempt at fraud, he led the chief aside, and told him 
that he intended to hold him responsible in case of the loss of a.ny of 
his things, or of his being deceived. He then ordered him to leave 
one of his slaves in charge of the horses and effects until their return. 
This was accordingly done, and they proceeded on foot for the Lake 
Nanvitz, which they reached by one o'clock. This proved to be a 
tine sheet of water, a mile and a half long, by three-fourths of a mile 
wide, surrounded by a thick forest of pines. Here they found an 
Indian family hunting, who had just killed an elk, of which Mr. 
Eld procured the greater part, for a small quantity of powder and 


shot. These were also of the Suquamish tribe. The old man of 
this party spoke of another lake, not far distant, to which he took Mr. 
Eld. This was no more than about half the size of the former, and 
the name the Indians gave it was Kamalatiz : it had much the same 
character as the larger one. There was no opportunity of getting 
the depth of these two lakes, for want of a canoe. Neither of them 
has an outlet. From the Indians' account, the Sachap takes its rise 
in a small pond to the northwest of these lakes. 

Having accomplished the object he had in view, Mr. Eld turned 
back, and soon reached the place where they had left the horses and 
articles, which they found all safe, under the charge of the slave, 
who, from appearance, had not moved from his position during the 
time of their absence, and was much relieved at their return. 

The next day they returned to their party on the Chickeeles, 
passing on their route some of the gigantic pine trees, so often to be 
met with in this territory. Some of these had been burnt, and had 
in consequence fallen ; Mr. Eld thus had an opportunity of mea- 
suring them. One, that was not selected as the largest, for there 
were many of equal if not greater length and diameter, was mea- 
sured, and the part that lay in one piece was found to be two hundred 
feet long ; another piece of the same tree was twenty -five feet long, 
and at the small end of the latter, it w r as still ten inches in diameter. 
Allowing twelve feet for the portion destroyed by fire, Mr. Eld 
thought twenty-five feet ought to be added for its top ; which makes 
the whole length of the tree, when growing, two hundred and sixty 
feet. Others were believed to exceed this, both in height and 
diameter. ' 

During the time of Mr. Eld's absence, Mr. Colvocoressis remained 
at the camp, and Mr. Brackenridge made short excursions to the 
south of the Chickeeles. The country on this side of the river is 
covered with a thick spruce forest, and the soil appears to differ much 
from that of the north, being poor, and composed of a mixture of sand 
and gravel, while on the north side it is an alluvial deposit, averaging 
from a half to two-thirds of a mile in width, well adapted to yield good 
crops of grain. From the marks on the trees, however, it is believed 
to be subject to an annual inundation of considerable depth. The 
weather continued dry and clear. 

Near this encampment were found some rudely carved painted 
planks, of which Mr. Eld made a drawing. They are represented 
in the wood-cut. 



These planks were placed upright, and nothing could be learned of 
their origin. The colours were exceedingly bright, of a kind of red 


In descending the Chickeeles the next morning, they soon per- 
ceived by its shores that there was an ebb and flow of the waters. 
Mr. Eld tried its current, and found it setting flood about one fathom 
per hour. As they proceeded, the shores lost some of their luxuriance 
of foliage, the banks had become high, and so muddy that they had 
some little difficulty in finding a suitable place to encamp. Some 
talcon slate was seen to compose the bluffs on the south side of the 
river, but it was so soft and fragile that it could not be brought away. 
The only natives seen this day were two miserable-looking beings of 
the Chickeeles tribe, but they could not understand the interpreter 
Joe, either in the Nisqually or Chinook dialect. The party en- 
camped in a hemlock grove, so thick as to render it impossible for 
the usual nightly observations to be taken. The surf was distinctly 
audible from the camp during the night. 

On the 31st, after passing two elbows in the river, the cape on the 
south of the entrance to Gray's Harbour was seen. The flood-tide 
was very strong against them, so that they made but slow progress, 
and as they opened out the harbour and entered it, they found a strong 
southwest wind blowing, which caused a short and disagreeable sea, 
that very nearly swamped their small canoe, and obliged them to run 
for the lee shore. Here all the things were taken out and placed to 
dry, on one of the huge trees that had been brought down by the 
freshets. From this awkward situation they were relieved by the old 
squaw chief, who had preceded them from Nisqually. She came 
over in her large canoe, with ten Indians, and offered to carry the 


party over to the weather shore, where they could encamp in a less 
exposed place. The offer was gladly accepted, and they were taken 
over to the village. 

Mr. Eld here endeavoured to treat for the purchase of a large 
canoe, in which attempt his patience was soon exhausted, for when 
the bargain was all but closed, difficulties of a trivial nature were 
brought up which entirely broke off the negotiation. The Indians of 
this village proved themselves to be in all respects like the tribes in 
the interior, who will never adhere to a bargain if they can avoid it. 

Mr. Eld and his party had now a great many difficulties to contend 
with in carrying forward the survey of the harbour. These arose as 
well from the weather as the want of means. The Indians for some 
days continued unwilling to lend them any aid in the management 
of their canoes, and none of them could be induced to venture out in 
what they deemed stormy weather ; another reason for not engaging 
in the service was, they did not wish to leave their wives behind. It 
being at last agreed that their wives should accompany them, Mr. 
Colvocoressis embarked in order to join Mr. Eld ; but to do this it 
was necessary to encounter both the wind and sea, in consequence of 
which the Indians refused to proceed unless they had an extra allow- 
ance of powder and tobacco. 

This being refused, they quietly steered the canoe back to the 
encampment. On arriving there, it soon became evident to Mr. 
Colvocoressis that their intention was to take away their canoe, for 
they at once began to put in her the few things they possessed. He 
therefore took two of their guns, and concealed them in one of 
the tents. An Indian, the moment Mr. Colvocoressis's back was 
turned to the tents, drew his knife, rushed into them, and brought 
forth the guns, one of which he handed to a woman. The musket 
which the squaw had was again taken, upon which the Indians 
said that they would complete their bargain, and induced Mr. Col- 
vocoressis to believe they would do so. He therefore embarked, 
and they proceeded with apparent willingness, until they came 
opposite their own village, where they landed, and refused to go 
any further. They, however, offered him a small canoe, to take 
him across the river, and the Indian to whom the musket they 
had taken belonged, ferried him across. In the evening, the In- 
dians returned to ask for the musket, but it was refused until they 
should return the axe that had been left in the canoe, and agree to 
abide by the bargain they had made to render them assistance. The 

vol. v. 35 


next day the axe was restored, and the musket given up. After this, 
a more friendly disposition was evinced, as Mr. Eld supposes from 
the fact of their having learnt from Nisqually who they were. 

From the 1st to the 6th of August, the party effected little, and 
their supply of provisions was becoming very low. On the latter 
day they shifted their camp, about five miles towards the capes, to 
a small patch of meadow-land, near one of the small streams which 
empty into the harbour. 

After remaining here a few days, they selected another spot, at the 
South Head ; and on the 10th, the Indians failing to perform their 
engagements, they moved their articles themselves to their new 
encampment. They had now very nearly exhausted their provisions, 
and were living on the dead fish they picked up on the beach (a sort 
of hake) and some berries. From continual exposure to wet, with 
hard work, as well as scanty and bad food, they all became very feeble 
and sick, and were able to do but little work. On the 13th, Lieu- 
tenant De Haven, whom I had sent over, arrived, and relieved them; 
and on his return to Baker's Bay, twenty days' provisions were sent 
with a party of Kanakas, under the guidance of Boileau, a Canadian. 

This supply reached them on the 19th August, from which time 
they proceeded rapidly with the survey, when the weather would 
permit. Previous to the arrival of Lieutenant De Haven, Mr. Eld 
and his party had parted with their own clothing and blankets, for 
the purpose of effecting the purchase of a large canoe to carry on 
their work. The Indians refused to deliver it, except for actual pay ; 
for they had not yet learned to value the small pieces of paper, or 
orders on the Company's store, so much prized in the upper country, 
and which are there usually preferred to the articles themselves. 
The threat to stop trading for powder, Mr. Eld found was a strong 
inducement to accomplish any object with the Indians, for they 
prize this and tobacco beyond any other articles, always except- 
ing rum. 

Mr. Eld, in one instance, treated one of the Indians to a pipe 
and tobacco, which affected him so much that they thought he was 
going into a fit, and created considerable alarm. This effect arises 
from their mode of using the pipe, for they invariably swallow 
the smoke, and retain the greatest part of it in the stomach and 

On the 24th, the survey was finished, and they prepared for their 
departure. The tract of land bordering on the Chickeeles, below 


the mouth of the Sachap, and around Gray's Harbour, is of a poor 
description for cultivation. The spruce forest extends down to the 
water's edge, except in a few places around the harbour, where there 
are patches of salt marsh, which produce coarse grasses and cat's-tail 
(Typha). The salt creeks into which the tide flows are generally 
very tortuous ; and the meadows are occasionally overflowed at 
spring-tides. The only piece of land that appeared suitable for 
cultivation, was immediately within the South Head ; but this is of 
small extent. The coast, as far as Cape Shoalwater, is no more than 
a smooth sandy beach, which rises in a gentle acclivity to a line of 
low sand-hills. 

Mr. Brackenridge describes the coast vegetation as consisting' of 
Oberonia, Neottia, Ambrosia, two species of Aster, several Grami- 
nese, an Armeria, with a number of saline plants ; the Gaultheria 
is found in great abundance, bearing a palatable berry, of which 
the party had occasion to make use. For further information 
respecting the plants of this section, I must refer to the Botanical 

Gray's Harbour seems to offer but few facilities for commercial 
purposes. The entrance is narrow, the width being from one-half to 
two-thirds of a mile, with dangerous breakers on both sides. The 
depth of water is from five to seven fathoms. The space, after en- 
tering, is extensive, but the greater part of it is filled up with mud- 
flats, which are bare at low water, and confine the harbour suitable 
for the anchorage of vessels to very small limits. The river Chic- 
keeles, before entering into the harbour, increases in width to several 
hundred feet, and is navigable for vessels drawing twelve feet water, 
eight miles above its mouth. The harbour is only suitable for vessels 
of from one to two hundred tons ; and there are places where such 
vessels may find security between the mud shoals, some distance 
within the capes. 

The tides here are irregular, and influenced by the winds and 
weather ; the time of high water at full and change was found to be 
11" 30 m . 

Fogs prevail very frequently during the summer season. Our 
party remained at this place for twenty-three days, three-fourths of 
which time it blew a strong gale from either the southwest or north- 
west, accompanied with a dense fog, that rendered it impossible to 
see farther than half a mile. 


The Indians in this portion of the country are not numerous. 
The region at the head of Puget Sound is inhabited by a tribe 
called the Toandos, whose number Mr. Eld was unable to learn. 
The Sachals are about forty in number : they reside about the lake 
of the same name, and along the river Chickeeles : they appear 
to be a kind and inoffensive tribe. The Sachap tribe numbers 
about sixty : they are not as well off for clothing as the former, 
and few of them were supplied with fire-arms ; they reside on the 
borders of the Sachap river. The Chickeeles tribe number from 
one hundred and fifty to two hundred, and inhabit the country 
around Gray's Harbour : their principal place of abode is on the 
north point of Gray's Harbour, which is generally occupied by those 
passing to and fro, and where they await fine weather. Mr. Eld 
found this tribe supplied with good muskets, blankets, and knives : 
they paint their faces, and have altogether a warlike appearance. 
At one time during the stay of the party they were disposed to 
be troublesome, but the party being constantly on the watch, to 
protect themselves, remained unmolested, though occasionally an- 
noyed at the disposition evinced to take advantage of any over- 
sight. The chief of this tribe is spoken of by the party in very 
high terms, for his kindness to them. He seemed mortified at the 
events which occurred, and took much pains to keep his people in 
order. In this, notwithstanding he possessed little authority among 
his tribe, he succeeded, although with difficulty. As a proof of his 
good intentions, he invariably returned all the signals the others had 

This tribe lives principally on salmon, which they take during the 
season in vast quantities, and the fish are said to be as fine as those 
taken in the Columbia. On the Chickeeles, and in its branches, are 
many of the weirs and stakes that have been already described. 
Sturgeon are also taken in great numbers, and of a superior 

It may be inferred from their seldom receiving any supplies of 
venison through the Indians, or meeting with any themselves, that 
there is but little game in this part of the country. 

They shot a few grouse, some wild geese were seen, and the mud- 
flats were covered with white gulls in immense numbers, among 
which were a few pelicans. 

The amusements of the Indians, and the manner of lounging 


away their time, were similar to those of the other tribes before 
spoken of. 

On the 24th, they were glad to leave Gray's Harbour, after having, 
by great perseverance and with much fatigue, completed the survey. 
Mr. Eld now took up the remaining portion of the work he was 
ordered to perform, namely, to trace the coast to Cape Disappoint- 
ment. The Indians whom he hired to take the canoe around by 
water, preferred to pass close along the beach, inside the surf, by 
tracking the canoe : notwithstanding there was a very heavy surf, 
they managed to pass along very quickly. This is the mode they 
always adopt in journeying along the coast with their canoes, to avoid 
accident from the heavy surf, of which they have much dread. The 
evening of the day on which they left Gray's Harbour, they reached 
a small islet, distant fifteen miles from Cape Shoalwater, where they 
found the lodge of the Chickeeles chief before spoken of, who sup- 
plied them with dried salmon, &c. 

The coast between Chickeeles Harbour and Cape Shoalwater is 
bordered by sand-hills, behind which, from the Indians' account, 
there are lakes and streams of fresh water, in which plenty of beaver 
are found. 

From this chief they hired another canoe, and accompanied by 
him they proceeded through Shoalwater Bay towards Cape Disap- 
pointment. The two canoes separated, which caused them to pass 
over the two portages between Shoalwater and Baker's Bay : that 
to the east is about four and a half miles in length, while that to the 
west is six or seven miles across. The former is usually preferred 
by the Indians, and is one of the main passes of communication 
between the different tribes on the sea-coast. The woods through 
which they passed were of spruce trees, some of which were of large 
dimensions ; the lesser plants were principally Vaccinium, Ledums, 
and some candleberry-bushes (Myrica). 

On the 27th they reached the Flying-Fish, then in Baker's Bay, 
and were taken over to Astoria. 

Mr. Eld received, on his arrival at Astoria, my orders to repair 
with his party to Vancouver; where, being furnished by Mr. Burnie 
with a large flat-bottomed barge, he set out to join me at that place, 
which he reached on the 31st August. 

I cannot refrain from expressing the satisfaction I felt at the 
manner in which the service was performed, and deem it my duty 

vol. v. 36 


to make known to the country the commendable perseverance with 
which this party persisted in completing the duty assigned them, 
regardless of inconvenience, privation, and discomfort. This tour 
forms a part of the operations of the Expedition that I look back 
upon with pride and pleasure, and I feel that my thanks are es- 
pecially due to Passed Midshipmen Eld and Colvocoressis, and Mr. 
Brackenridge, for their devotion to the service in which they were 

Orders were immediately given for them to join the over-land 
expedition to California, under Lieutenant Emmons, who was just 
about proceeding to the Willamette Valley, where his party had 
been organized, with our own force and the settlers and trappers 
who were engaged to accompany it to California. After the party 
was collected, it consisted of — 

Lieutenant Emmons. T. R. Peale, Naturalist. 

Passed Midshipman Eld. W. Rich, Botanist. 

Passed Midshipman Colvocoressis. J. D. Dana, Geologist. 

Assistant-Surgeon Whittle. A. T. Agate, Artist. 

Doughty, Seaman. J. D. Brackenridge, Assistant Botanist. 

Sutton, " Baptist Guardipii, Guide. 

Waltham, " Tibbats. 

Merzer, " Black. 

Sergeant Stearns. Warfields. 

Corporal Hughes. Wood. 

Private Marsh. Molair. 

Private Smith. Inass. 

Those who joined the party for a safe escort, were Mr. Walker 
and family, consisting of his wife, sister, three sons, and two 
daughters ; Burrows, wife, and child ; Nichols, with Warfields' 
wife and child. 

The whole party numbered thirty-nine, with seventy-six animals, 
forty-four of which were private property. 

Lieutenant Emmons at first found much difficulty in organizing 
his party, on account of having to deal with persons who had little 
or no regard for the promises they made, or the engagements they 
entered into. This feature of character proceeds both from a desire 
to obtain more money, and a want of stability of purpose. Many 
difficulties were encountered by him in consequence of the change 
of his route to California, which very many of those who were to 


have accompanied him were unwilling to undertake. These were 
the very best men we had engaged. Every kind of embarrassment 
seemed to come upon him at once : delays and disappointments 
occurred every day ; sickness overtook the party ; rumours were cir- 
culated of danger from the Indians, who it was said were determined 
to oppose the party and cut it off. Some of the settlers refused to 
re-engage, because their crops required attention, and their harvest 
might be lost ; others said that they could not leave their families for 
so long a time ; and amidst these various sources of delay, the animals 
strayed away, or were carried off. The whole, finally, resolved itself 
into a demand for higher wages. 

Lieutenant Emmons, though exceedingly annoyed by all these 
difficulties, showed himself fully equal to them, and by patience and 
perseverance overcame them all. Mr. Rodgers, whom I had desig- 
nated as the provider of the party, and in whom I was told great 
reliance could be placed, was not exactly suited to such a task, being 
connected more or less with the inhabitants of the valley, and about 
to become one of the residents ; he also was soon unable to attend to 
business on account of sickness : before the organization of the second 
party, therefore, he was discharged and paid off. At this point I 
shall leave the narrative of the operations of the over-land party, 
until I come down to the date when they again joined me at San 

The observations and surveys in the neighbourhood of Vancouver 
being finished, we prepared for our departure. The weather during 
our stay had been delightful, and we enjoyed ourselves very much 
in the company of Dr. M'Laughlin, Mr. Douglass, and the officers 
of the Hudson Bay Company. 

I have before spoken of their attentions, but I feel that my expres- 
sions are few in comparison with the numerous kindnesses we all 
received. Even Billy Bruce the gardener made us his debtor, by 
sending us repeatedly some of the fine fruit and vegetables grown 
under his care. I have endeavoured to repay him, by sending him 
seeds ; but the route is so long and circuitous, that it is questionable 
whether they ever arrive, and when they come to hand, if I shall 
not be classed by him with those who have sent " trash" to Van- 
couver, for him to waste his time and experience on, in attempting to 

Among the officers of the Hudson Bay Company, I must not forget 


to mention Dr. Barclay, whose kind attentions in procuring specimens 
for the Expedition, entitle him to our gratitude. 

Sir George Simpson stayed only a few days. He took his depar- 
ture under a salute of guns from the Cadborough, and the attendance 
of all the officers and dependants of the forts. Mr. Douglass went 
with him; and in his suite was also Mr. Von Freeman, a Russian 
gentleman, with whom I was much pleased. He was going to Sitka, 
and I believe was one of the officers of the Russian Company. 

The number of posts occupied by the Hudson Bay Company in 
this territory is twenty-five : these are located at the best points for 
trade, and so as to secure the resort of the Indians, without inter- 
fering with their usual habits. Places are also occupied in the 
vicinity of their abodes during the most favourable part of the year, 
for obtaining the proceeds of their hunting. This is regulated with 
much skill; and the portion of the country once under their care 
is never suffered to become exhausted of furs; for, whenever they 
discover a decrease, the ground is abandoned for several years, until 
the animals have time to increase again. 

A charge has been made against the Company, that they were 
desirous of exterminating the beaver south of the Columbia, and 
would continue to hunt them until every fur-bearing animal was 
exhausted. This, from the information I received, I believe to be 
erroneous ; the story has probably proceeded from feelings of rivalry 
on the part of those who spread the report. 

Another charge made against them, of exciting attacks on the free 
trappers, who are generally from our borders, is to be received with 
many allowances. It has been made in many cases from interested 
motives ; and I am satisfied that nothing of this kind could emanate 
from Vancouver, or from any of the officers. 

The whole conduct of- Dr. M'Laughlin is totally at variance 
with such a course : every facility has been at all times extended to 
new-comers and settlers ; it is sufficient that they are of good charac- 
ter, and the use of cattle, horses, farming utensils, and supplies, is 
invariably extended to facilitate their operations, until such time as 
they are able to provide for themselves. 

During our stay at Vancouver, I had the pleasure of seeing many 
members of the Willamette Mission ; but they were unable to give 
me much information. They invariably spoke of Dr. M'Laughlin 
in the highest terms : they were averse to his absolute rule over the 



whole territory, and, although it was considered by them as despotic, 
they could not adduce any instance of the wrong application of his 
power. He is notwithstanding extremely unpopular among all 
classes of our countrymen, but for what reason it is difficult to 

Dr. M'Laughlin obligingly favoured me with the heights of the 
stopping-places, or encampments, on the route that is usually taken 
by their parties crossing the Rocky Mountains : the results were 
obtained by the boiling point of water. The journey was made 
during the months of August, September, and October, 1839. 





Jasper's House, 




Camp d'Origal, 




Camp de Fusil, 








Head of Grand Cote, 




Bottom of Grand Cote, 




Boat Encampment, 










2566 feet 



















This may be considered as a near approximation to the true height, 
and at several of the places where the barometer has been also used, 
there is a very close coincidence in the results. 

The instrument used for the experiment was one of Newman's 
make, and exceedingly convenient for such purposes, offering great 
facility in use, without the danger of accident from its size. 

The trade and operations of the Hudson Bay Company are 
extensive, and the expense with which they are attended is very 
great. I am inclined to think that it is hardly possible for any one to 
form an exact estimate of the amount of profit they derive from their 
business on the west side of the mountains. The stock of the Com- 
pany certainly pays a large dividend ; and it is asserted that in addi- 
tion a very considerable surplus has been accumulated to meet airy 
emergency ; yet it may be questioned whether their trade in the 
Oregon Territory yields any profit, although it is now conducted at 
much less cost than formerly. This diminution of cost arises from 
the fact, that a great part of the provisions are now raised in the 
country by the labour of their own servants. 

The Puget Sound Company, although it has been in operation for 
vol. v. 37 


several years, has made no dividends. The accumulation of their 
live-stock may, however, be considered as an equivalent for moneyed 
profits. In the event, however, of the country becoming the abode of 
a civilized community, the farms and other land possessed by this 
Company must become very valuable, as the posts occupy all the 
points most favourably situated for trade, and the agricultural esta- 
blishments have been placed in many of the best positions for farming 
operations. The utmost economy is practised in every part of the 
establishment of the Hudson Bay Company, and great exertions are 
made to push their operations over a larger field of action. Mercan- 
tile houses, supported by the credit and capital of the Company, have 
even been established at the Sandwich Islands and San Francisco, 
where articles of every description imported in the vessels of the 
Company may be purchased. 

The value of all the furs obtained on this coast does not exceed 
forty thousand pounds annually ; and when the cost of keeping up 
their posts, and a marine composed of four ships and a steamer, is 
taken into account, and allowances made for losses, interest, and insu- 
rance, little surplus can be left for distribution. I am, indeed, per- 
suaded, that the proceeds of their business will not long exceed their 
expenses, even if they do so at present. The statement of the Com- 
pany's affairs presents no criterion by which to judge of the success 
of their business on the Northwest Coast. I learned that it was 
the general impression among the officers, that such has been the 
falling off in the trade, that it does not now much more than pay 

On my first visit to Vancouver, Dr. M'Laughlin was kind enough 
to offer to keep a meteorological diary for me, during my stay on the 
coast, that I might have the means of comparison. They had formerly 
been in the habit of noting the changes that occurred, and for many 
years had kept a journal ; but this had been for some years omitted. 
The task would be but trifling in such a well-regulated establishment, 
and it is surprising that it should not have claimed more attention. 
The night observations seem to be the principal difficulty. In the 
register kept during our stay, the instruments were only noted in the 
daytime, and the record is not available for the mean temperature of 
the twenty-four hours ; but as it may serve to show the state of the 
weather, during the summer months, at Vancouver, I will give an 
abstract from it. The barometer and thermometer were both com- 
pared with our standard, and found nearly to coincide. 



6 A. M. 

2 P. M. 

6 P. M. 







June .... 
July .... 
August . . . 

30-71 in. 



30-27 in. 




30-30 in. 




This gives the mean standing of the barometer and thermometer, 
during the day hours, at 30 32 in., and 66-33° for the summer 

The state of the weather, during the period of one hundred and six 
days, was as follows : 


Cloudy, . 

76 days. 
19 " 
11 " 


In my inquiries of the residents, I am inclined to the opinion that 
the above is a very fair estimate of the weather, though they almost 
all differed in their statements : some spoke of the season as a very 
bad one, others thought it was very fine. The crops of all descrip- 
tions of grain were good, which I supposed to be the best criterion. 

The climate of the western section, throughout the year, is mild ; 
and they neither experience extreme heat in summer, nor severe cold 
in winter. I am disposed to believe this to be owing to the constant 
prevalence of the southwesterly or ocean winds. It certainly is not 
owing to the influence of any warm stream setting along its shores. 
The current near the coast sets to the southeast, and is of a cold 
temperature : it would rather tend to lessen the heats in summer, 
than the cold in winter. There have been no observations kept by 
the missionaries in this lower section of the country. It is liable, 
from the experience of our parties, to early frosts, owing to the 
proximity of the Snowy Mountains. Frosts sometimes occur in the 
latter part of August, which check all vegetation at that early season. 

The southwest winds are caused by the vast extent of the sandy 
and arid country, lying east of the Cascade and Californian range 
of mountains, which, becoming heated, rarefies the air, and causes 


an indraught from the west. This current is found to increase in 
violence as the rarefied region is approached ; and so constant is 
this draught, that we experienced only three days of easterly winds 
during our stay, and these were very moderate in force. Imme- 
diately on the coast, the winds are from the west-southwest, to west- 
northwest : these maintain their direction until they reach the interior, 
and blow with great violence. 

The winters are invariably what would be termed open ones with 
us. Snow seldom falls, and, when it does, it rarely lasts more than 
two or three days. The rains during this season are frequent, though 
not violent. The climate in the western section, from all accounts, is 
not unlike that of England, and would be termed a wet one. The 
winter of 1840 was the severest they had yet experienced. 

The middle section is, on the contrary, exceedingly dry, and the 
temperature more changeable, the variations being great and sudden. 
The mercury has been known to fall as low as — 18° in the winter, 
and to rise as high as 108° in the shade, in summer. In Appendix 
XIII., Vol. IV., will be found a register of the temperature, kept 
at one of the missionary stations, Lapwai, on the Kooskooskee. It 
may be said to be on the eastern border of the middle section. 

The eastern section has an exceedingly variable climate : it fluc- 
tuates from cold to hot in a few hours, ranging through fifty or sixty 
degrees of temperature; yet, from the accounts I have, from very 
respectable authority, the cold is by no means severe for any length 
of time. The Rev. Mr. Smith, who was two years there, assured 
me that the cattle and horses required no other food than what they 
could pick up, the natural hay before spoken of being sufficient for 
their support. 

The climate throughout Oregon is thought to be salubrious for 
the white race ; and was considered so by the Indians, prior to the 
year 1830, when the ague and fever, or any disease resembling it, 
was not known to exist. The Indians fully believe, to this day, that 
Captain Domini s introduced the disease in 1830. Since that time, it 
has committed frightful ravages among them ; not so much, perhaps, 
from the violence of the disease itself, as the manner in which they 
treat it. It was not until quite lately that they were willing to be 
treated after our mode, and they still in many cases prefer the incan- 
tations and practices of the medicine-man. 

I satisfied myself that the accounts given of the depopulation of 
this country are not exaggerated ; for places were pointed out to me 


where dwelt whole tribes, that have been entirely swept off; and, 
during the time of the greatest mortality, the shores of the river were 
strewed with the dead and dying. This disease occurs, it is said, 

semi-annually, and in the case of foreigners, it is more mild at each 
succeeding attack. 

Owing to the above causes, the population is much less than I 
expected to find it. I made every exertion to obtain correct informa- 
tion, and believe that at the time of our visit, the following was very 
nearly the truth, viz. : 

Vancouver and Washington Island, ..... 5,000 

From latitude 50° to 54° N., on the main, .... 2,000 
Penn's Cove, Whidby's Island, including the main land (Sachet 

tribe,) 650 

Hood's Canal (Suquamish and Toando tribes), . . . 500 

Birch Bay, 300 

Fraser's River, ......... 500 

Clalams at Port Discovery, New Dungeness, .... 350 

Port Townsend, ......... 70 

Classet tribe, Cape Flattery and Point Grenville, . . . 1,250 

Nisqually, 200 

Chickeeles and Puget Sound, ...... 700 

Port Orchard, 150 

Cowlitz, 330 

Okonagan, .......... 300 

Colville and Spokane . . . . . . . 450 

Kilamukes, 400 

Chinooks, 209 

Clatsops, 220 

Cascades, .......... 150 

Pillar Rock, Oak Point, and Columbia River, . . . 300 

Willamette Falls and Valley, 275 

Dalles, 250 

De Chute's and John Day's River, 300 

Yakima, 100 

Wallawalla, 1,100 

Blackfeet, that dwell principally on the west side of the Rocky 

Mountains, 1,000 

Umpquas, .......... 400 

Rogues' River, ......... 500 

Klamets, 300 

Shaste, . • 500 

Callapuyas, 600 

Total, 19,354 
vol. v. 38 


The whole territory may, therefore, be considered as containing 
about twenty thousand Indians; and this, from a careful revision of 
the data obtained by myself and some of the officers, I am satisfied, is 
rather above than under the truth. The whites and half-breeds were 
between seven and eight hundred. One hundred and fifty were 
Americans. The number of the latter has, however, increased very 
much since the year 1840, as many emigrants have crossed the 
mountains. The decrease of the red race is, no doubt, equivalent to 
the increase by immigration. 

The surveying parties having returned, on the 14th we took leave 
of Vancouver. After proceeding down to the mouth of the Willa- 
mette, we anchored, for the purpose of finishing the soundings and 
making an examination of the channels into which the river is here 
divided by a few islands. 

This work being completed, we dropped down several miles, to 
overtake the sounding parties. Here we were a good deal annoyed 
from the burning of the prairies by the Indians, which filled the atmo- 
sphere with a dense smoke, and gave the sun the appearance of 
being viewed through a smoked glass. We were, fortunately, in a 
great degree, independent of it, as it was not necessary to see more 
than a short distance, to discover the signals for the soundings. It 
however prevented me from verifying my astronomical stations, which 
I was desirous of doing. 

Acting-Master Sinclair, who had been despatched to Vancouver 
for some articles belonging to the Oregon, that had been left there, 
joined us below Warrior's Point, on the 19th, with letters and news 
that had been brought from the United States by an over-land party. 
These letters were very acceptable, as we had not received any 
advices from home for twenty-two months, and tended to revive our 
spirits, as well as encourage- our exertions. On the 20th, we anchored 
again off Coffin Rock, near which we found a depth of twenty-five 
fathoms, which is the deepest water within the capes. This place is 
sixty miles from the mouth of the river, and eight miles above the 
confluence of the Cowlitz. The shores here are composed of trap 
and a conglomerate, the last of which is the same rock as that which 
occurs below, and has already been spoken of. The Coffin Rock, 
which is not more than sixty feet in diameter, and twelve feet above 
the water, appears to have been exclusively reserved for the burial of 
chiefs. Dr. Holmes procured here some fine specimens of Flathead 


skulls for our collection. We anchored the same evening off the 

Early the next morning, I proceeded up the Cowlitz in my gig, in 
order to finish the survey of that stream and examine the strata of 
coal said to exist there. After entering it, it was with difficulty that 
I recognised the river ; for there is a greater difference than even in 
the Columbia, between its high and low states. After passing up the 
Cowlitz several miles, I encountered rapids, through which it was 
necessary to drag the boat by a line. I found, after great exertion 
and fatigue, we could not ascend beyond thirteen miles ; for it had 
become so shallow that the boat would not float, and we had not 
strength enough to force her over the wide bars of gravel and sand, 
that had apparently accumulated during the last spring. After 
securing some specimens of lignite that were found embedded in the 
alluvial banks, and taking observations for time, I turned back ; and 
feeling anxious to reach the brig at an early hour, I ventured to shoot 
one of the rapids. In doing this, we all had a narrow escape ; and 
particularly two of the boat's crew, who were in great danger of their 
lives. We fortunately escaped, but with considerable damage to the 
boat and a few bruises, the whole of which was the work of an in- 
stant. This taught me not to venture upon such an experiment 
again, and I felt thankful to escape as we did. The Cowlitz is not 
navigable, except at high water during the spring and fall ; and even 
then it is difficult to ascend, on account of the strength of its current. 

We had now overtaken the sounding parties, and, aided by the 
boats of the brig, were enabled to push the work towards a close. 
Having reached the influence of the tide below, Oak Point, all fears 
of the ague and fever vanished : we had indeed been extremely for- 
tunate in exemption from this disease, and only those suffered from its 
attacks who had been before exposed. Those affected belonged chiefly 
to the Peacock, and the larger portion were Sandwich Islanders. The 
crew of the Porpoise were generally exempt from it : all recovered 
from the slight attacks under a simple treatment. I felt not a little 
satisfaction at disappointing the knowing ones, who had prognosticated 
the certainty of my having all hands sick and dying by attempting 
the survey in the unhealthy season. When we reached Astoria, we 
had nearly all hands on duty. 

On the 26th, we had again reached Katalamet Point, the lower 
end of Puget Island. The brig passed down the usual channel on 


the south side, while I surveyed the northern passage. The latter 
is about four miles in length. 

Puget Island affords no land fit for cultivation, and during the 
season of freshets is overflowed. It is fringed around its borders 
with cotton-wood, willow, pines, and hazel, &c. ; but it may be con- 
sidered valueless. 

At this anchorage I was joined by Michel la Framboise, who 
brought a supply of fresh beef for the crew, which they were in 
much need of. Since I had first seen Michel, I had learned more of 
his history and the cause which led him to complain of a want of 
advancement. I regret to say, that, like many others, he ought to 
look to himself as the cause of his misfortune, instead of indulging: 
in causeless complaints. 

He confirmed much of the information I had received, and o-ave 
me full statements of the population, which I found to agree with 
what he had already imparted to officers belonging to the Company, 
as well as the Expedition. 

I questioned him relative to the stories respecting the shooting of 
Indians, on the route to and from California, and he told me they 
had no battles, but said it was necessary to keep them always at a 
distance. On my repeating the question, whether the reports we had 
heard of several being killed during the late expedition were true, 
he, Frenchman-like, shrugged his shoulders and answered : " Ah, 
monsieur, ils sont des mauvaises gens: il faut en prendre garde et 
tirer sur eux quelquefois." 

On the 29th of September we again reached the Pillar Rock, and 
on the 3d of October we passed through the Tongue Point Channel. 
Before doing this, we took the precaution to buoy it out, and then 
towed the vessels through at high water. This enabled me to lay 
down its tortuous course with accuracy, although I was aware that 
there is little probability of its remaining over the season without 
some material change. The new and direct channel discovered by 
us, leading up from Tongue Point, will supersede the necessity of 
using it, and from its direct course, is more likely to be permanent; 
but the channels in this river will be always more or less subject to 
change, from the impediments the large trees drifting down cause, 
when they ground on the shoals. 

The same evening we anchored about two miles above Astoria, and 
in order to lose no time, I proceeded there in my boat to make ar- 


rangements for getting off the stores, and embarking every thing 
previous to our departure. 

I found that Purser Speiden had prepared for us ten thousand 
pounds of the best bread we had had during the cruise : this had 
been accomplished by his great perseverance and attention to the 
business, and I was thus relieved from all anxiety in regard to that 
indispensable article of the ration. 

On the 1st October, the Porpoise anchored at Astoria, and every 
body was now engaged in expediting the embarkation of stores on 
board of both vessels ; the officers were detailed temporarily to the 
Oregon, whilst the necessary observations for the chronometers and 
magnetism were again made. 

On my examining the work of the Flying-Fish and boats, I 
found there was still much to do, in sounding out the lower part of 
the river. The weather had prevented the execution of this part of 
the duty within the time that I had allowed for finishing it ; the 
most essential part for our own purposes had fortunately, however, 
been accomplished. 

It now became important that the two larger vessels should be 
got to sea as early as possible. I therefore determined to seize the 
first opportunity that should offer for crossing the bar, and to return 
myself in the tender to complete the survey. We, in consequence, 
proceeded on the 2d to Baker's Bay, whilst the boats were still 
employed under Lieutenant De Haven in taking soundings. Acting- 
Master Knox and Passed Midshipman Reynolds, were now ordered 
to the Porpoise and Oregon, for the purpose of piloting them to sea, 
when an opportunity should serve. In Baker's Bay we found the 
Company's schooner, the Cadborough, which had been waiting three 
weeks for an opportunity to get over the bar. 

As the Peacock's launch could not be taken with us, I had at one 
time an intention of sending her along the coast to San Francisco. 
The weather and advanced state of the season, however, would have 
rendered such a voyage dangerous ; I therefore came to the determi- 
nation of providing her with every essential to fit her to be used as a 
pilot-boat in the mouth of the river, or for the relief of vessels in dis- 
tress. Mr. Burnie, on my asking him to take charge of her for that 
object, would have readily consented to do so for the Company, but 
had no authority to do so. I therefore immediately wrote to Dr. 
M'Laughlin, to say that I had placed the launch at his disposal, and 
to request that she might be put under the supervision of the Com- 

vol. v. 39 


pany's officers, for the above purposes. She was completely fitted, 
and delivered oyer to Mr. Burnie. The letters to Dr. M'Laughlin on 
this subject will be found in Appendix V. In consequence of my 
departure from the coast, I received no answer from him, but have 
understood from other sources that the boat had been taken charge of. 
Her construction was admirably adapted for that purpose, and I am 
sure that if any disaster should occur, the assistance she will render 
will be of great benefit. 

On the 5th, the prospect of passing the bar was favourable, and at 
2 h 30 m p. m. the Company's bark Columbia, which had been lying off 
and on for the last week, entered. On passing the vessels, she saluted 
us and proceeded up the river to Astoria. At 3 h 30 m , I determined 
on making the attempt to get to sea. We quickly got the vessels 
under way, and in an hour afterwards we had passed the bar in 

The Cadborough followed our example, and went to sea also. Her 
master, before we got under way, had strong misgivings as to un- 
dertaking the risk at so late an hour both of the day and tide. The 
vessels of the Hudson Bay Company never attempt to pass either in 
or out, unless the opportunity is such as will warrant the master in 
making the attempt. They consider that there is sufficient risk at 
the best of times, and are unwilling to increase it. I have already 
stated that the entrance to the Columbia is impracticable for two- 
thirds of the year. This arises from the fact that it can never be 
entered at night, and in the day only at particular times of the tide 
and direction of the wind. Unlike all known ports, it requires both 
the tide and wind to be contrary, to insure any degree of safety. 

Those who may desire to be farther informed on this subject, 
are referred to the Hydrographical Memoir of the cruise. Having 
succeeded in getting the brigs beyond the risk of detention, I gave 
them orders to await my return, and went on board the tender, to 
pass again into the river, for the purpose of completing all that 
remained of the survey. The Company's bark Columbia had just 
returned from- the northern posts. The master, Mr. Broughton, was 
kind enough to give me much information respecting the northern 
coasts, and the Indian tribes : he likewise presented the Expedition 
with many curiosities of native workmanship, some of which showed 
much ingenuity, particularly their pipes and masks. The latter 
are used in their theatrical exhibitions, which are represented by 
those who have witnessed them, as affording them much entertain- 



ment, and a pastime in which they very frequently indulge; many of 
these masks are represented with the spoon-lip. As this ornament 


belongs to the female sex, they also engage in the diversion. Some 
of the masks are sufficiently hideous, while others are carved with 
skill : they use the soft pine for this purpose. The wood is variously 
stained with red, black, and yellow marks. The two of these 
represented in the engraving will give a good idea of those that 
are the best executed. The pipes, saucers, &c, are usually carved 
from clay. 


The survey we finished by the morning of the 10th October, when 
we again reached Baker's Bay, and being determined to lose no time, 
we made the attempt to pass the bar : though we succeeded in doing 
so, I am satisfied it was at great risk ; for, as I have been told is fre- 
quently the case, the wind failed us just at the most critical point, 
and rendered it doubtful if we should pass. Our situation was 
dangerous, and a vessel of any other class must have been wrecked. 
For at least twenty minutes I was in doubt whether we could effect 
our object ; but by the use of sweeps we accomplished it, principally 
through the exertions of the extra men, belonging to the surveying 
boats, whom we had on board. 

The Oregon was the only vessel in sight ; and when I boarded her, 
I learned that they had not seen the Porpoise for three days. The 


next day she hove in sight, and the arrangements were soon com- 
pleted. I now supplied the tender with water and other requisites, 
and gave Mr. Knox orders to take a few more soundings on the 
outside of the bar, and then proceed along the coast as far as lati- 
tude 42° N., and to examine it, and the mouth of the Umpqua. 

In company with the Oregon, we now bore away to the southward, 
with a fine breeze from the northward and westward, glad to leave the 
Columbia river behind us. 

Previous to leaving the Columbia river, I addressed the following 
letter to Dr. M'Laughlin and Mr. Douglass. 

U. S. Brig Porpoise, 

Baker's Bay, 

October 5th, 1841. 


My last duty, before leaving the Columbia, I feel to be that of 
expressing to you my sincere thanks for the important aid and facili- 
ties which you have afforded the Expedition on all occasions, for 
carrying out the object of our visit to this part of the world ; and be 
assured it will prove a very pleasing part of my duty to make a due 
representation of it to my government. 

Your personal kindness and friendly attentions to myself and 
officers, from our first arrival, and also to Captain Hudson and his 
officers after the wreck of the Peacock, have laid me under many 
obligations, which I trust it may be at some future day in our power 
to return. 

We all would request through you an expression of our feelings 
for the many attentions and kindnesses received, and the pleasures 
afforded us by the officers of the Hudson Bay Company's service, with 
whom we have had any intercourse, which will be long remembered 
with pleasure. 

With my sincere wishes for the health, happiness, and prosperity 
of yourselves and families, 

I am, very truly, 

Your obedient servant, 

Charles Wilkes, 

Commanding Exploring Expedition. 

To John M'Laughlin and 
James Douglass, Esquires, 

Chief Factors, H. B. C. Service, Vancouver. 


At the same time, I wrote a letter to our government, informing 
them of the assistance we had received, stating the services these 
gentlemen had rendered us, and asking that an expression of acknow- 
ledgment might be made, through the British minister at Washington, 
to the Directors of the Hudson Bay Company in England. 

On the night of the 15th, we parted company with the Oregon, 
and did not see her again until she arrived at San Francisco. We 
coasted along to the southward, in the Porpoise. The land is high 
and mountainous, and may be seen at a great distance. Soundings 
of dark sand are obtained, in from thirty to forty fathoms water, about 
fifteen or twenty miles from the land. 

The coast south of the Columbia river I regretted we had not an 
opportunity more particularly to examine : the attempt of the 
Flying-Fish was unsuccessful ; the season had advanced so far as to 
make it next to impossible to accomplish it in a manner I desired. I 
have no reason to doubt the correctness of the examinations that 
have been already made. No ports exist along any part of it, that are 
accessible to any class of vessels, even those of but very small draught 
of water; and the impediment that the constant and heavy surf 
offers, along the whole coast, to a landing in boats, makes this part 
of our territory comparatively valueless in a commercial point of 
view. Along a great part of it is an iron-bound shore, rising pre- 
cipitately from the water. Anchorage in a few places may be had, 
but only in fair weather, and during the fine season. For a more 
particular description of the coast, I beg to refer to the Hydrogra- 
phical Memoir. 

On the 18th, we made Cape de los Reyes, and the Farallones. In 
the afternoon we were boarded by a boat from the Company's bark, 
Cowlitz, in which was her master, Mr. Brochier, and M. Duplot de 
Mofras. The latter informed me that he had just made a tour 
through Mexico and California, and was now going to the Columbia, 
for a passage to Oahu. The same evening, finding that I could not 
reach the port, I anchored in thirteen fathoms water. 

On the 19th, we were under way as soon as the tide made, and at 
3 p. m. we anchored near the Vincennes, in Sausalito Bay, on the 
north side of the entrance. I was gratified to find all well. Lieu- 
tenant-Commandant Ringgold reported to me that he had fulfilled 
the instructions relative to the Sacramento river. Nothing had yet 
been heard of Lieutenant Emmons; and the next day I despatched 

vol. v. 40 



the launch up the river to meet his party. The Oregon came in 
during the afternoon, and I forthwith made such disposition of the 
officers and men, as I deemed the future wants of the service would 
require; this, and the operations of the Vincennes, will form the 
subject of the next chapter. 








184 1. 

After Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold joined the Vincennes, 
she bore away for San Francisco, for the purpose of carrying into 
effect my instructions (see Appendix VI). She arrived at that port 
on the 14th of August, and anchored off Yerba Buena. Several 
vessels, amongst them two Americans, were found here, and intelli- 
gence was received of the death of General Harrison, President of 
the United States. 

As soon as the ship anchored, an officer was despatched on shore 
to call upon the authorities ; but none of any description were to be 
found. The only magistrate, an alcalde, was absent. The frequency 
of revolutions in this country had caused a great change since the 
visit of Captain Beechey. 

On the 17th, after consultation with the captain of the port, a Mr. 
Richardson, the ship was moved to the north shore, at Sausalito, or 
Whaler's Harbour. Water, which it was impossible to obtain at 
Yerba Buena, on account of the drought that had prevailed for 
several months, is here to be had from a small spring. After the 
ship was moored, the boats were hoisted out, and fitted for surveying 
duties up the river Sacramento. 

On approaching the coast in the neighbourhood of San Francisco, 
the country has by no means an inviting aspect. To the north, it 
rises in a lofty range, whose highest point is known as the Table 
Hill, and forms an iron-bound coast from Punto de los Reyes to the 
mouth of the harbour. 

To the south, there is an extended sandy beach, behind which rise 
the sand-hills of San Bruno, to a moderate height. There are no 
symptoms of cultivation, nor is the land on either side fit for it ; for 

VOL. V. 41 


in the former direction it is mountainous, in the latter sandy, and in 
both barren. The entrance to the harbour is striking : bold and 
rocky shores confine the rush of the tide, which bore us on and 
through a narrow passage into a large estuary : in this, several islands 
and rocks lie scattered around : some of the islands are clothed with 
vegetation to their very tops ; others are barren and covered with 
guano, having an immense number of sea-fowls hovering over, 
around, and alighting upon them. The distant shores of the bay 
extend north and south far beyond the visible horizon, exhibiting one 
of the most spacious, and at the same time safest ports in the world. 
To the east rises a lofty inland range, known by the name of La 
Sierra, brilliant with all the beautiful tints that the atmosphere in 
this climate produces. 

Yerba Buena is the usual though by no means the best an- 
chorage. The town, as is stated, is not calculated to produce a 
favourable impression on a stranger. Its buildings may be counted, 
and consist of a large frame building, occupied by the agent of the 
Hudson Bay Company, a store, kept by Mr. Spears, an American, 
a billiard-room and bar, a poop cabin of a ship, occupied as a 
dwelling by Captain Hinckley, a blacksmith's shop, and some out- 
buildings. These, though few in number, are also far between. 
With these, I must not forget to enumerate an old dilapidated adobe 
building, which has a conspicuous position on the top of the hill 
overlooking the anchorage. When to this we add a sterile soil and 
hills of bare rock, it will be seen that Yerba Buena and the country 
around it are any thing but beautiful. This description holds good 
when the tide is high, but at low-water it has for a foreground an 
extensive mud-flat, which does not add to the beauty of the view. 

Although I was prepared for anarchy and confusion, I was sur- 
prised when I found a total absence of all government in California, 
and even its forms and ceremonies thrown aside. 

After passing through the entrance, we were scarcely able to dis- 
tinguish the Presidio ; and had it not been for its solitary flag-staff, we 
could not have ascertained its situation. From this staff no flag 
floated ; the building was deserted, the walls had fallen to decay, the 
guns were dismounted, and every thing around it lay in quiet. We 
were not even saluted by the stentorian lungs of some soldier, so cus- 
tomary in Spanish places, even after all political power as well as 
military and civil rule has fled. I afterwards learned that the Presidio 
was still a garrison in name, and that it had not been wholly aban- 


doned ; but the remnant of the troops stationed there consisted of no 
more than an officer and one soldier. I was not able to learn the 
rank of the former, as he was absent, and appeared, at least among 
the foreigners, to be little known. 

At Yerba Buena there was a similar absence of all authority. The 
only officer was the alcalde, who dwells at the mission of Nostra Sefiora 
de los Dolores, some three miles off. He was full of self-importance, 
making up for what he wanted in the eyes of others by a high esti- 
mate of his own dignity. I could find no one who could furnish me 
with his name, which must be my apology for not recording it in 
this place. Some excuse may be offered for his inattention to his 
duties, as I understood that he had just been united in wedlock to 
a lady of one of the distinguished families of the country ; and after 
such an event in California much gaiety and rejoicing usually follow, 
until the hilarity at times becomes so uproarious as to end in fighting 
and bloodshed. 

Under the Palermo Mountain, or Table Hill of Beechey, which is 
two thousand five hundred feet high, and sparsely wooded with a few 
gnarled and scraggy oaks, the hills open towards the bay into a kind 
of vale, which had been chosen for the position of the observatory, 
and where the instruments had been set up under the direction of 
Lieutenant Carr. This place is well adapted for the resort of whalers. 
Here they may repair their boats, obtain water, and refit; and from 
their frequent resort to it, has obtained the name of Whaler's Harbour. 
The cove is a safe anchorage, being protected from the northwest and 
westerly winds, which prevail during the summer season, and often 
blow with great violence. 

At the time of our visit, the country altogether presented rather a 
singular appearance, owing, as I afterwards observed, to the withered 
vegetation and the ripened wild oats of the country. Instead of a 
lively green hue, it had generally a tint of a light straw-colour, 
showing an extreme want of moisture. The drought had continued 
for eleven months; the cattle were dying in the fields; and the first 
view of California was not calculated to make a favourable impres- 
sion either of its beauty or fertility. 

I found it very difficult to obtain accurate information in relation to 
Upper California. The country, at the time of our visit, and for 
several years previous, had been in a state of revolution ; and, as is 
often the case under similar circumstances, was involved in anarchy 
and confusion, without laws or security of person and property. It 


is -undergoing such frequent changes, that it is difficult to under- 
stand or to describe them. 

With California is associated the idea of a fine climate, and a rich 
and productive soil. This, at least, was the idea with which I 
entered its far-famed port; but I soon found, from the reports of the 
officers, after the trial they had had of it during the months of 
August and September, that their experience altogether contra- 
dicted the received opinion upon the first mentioned point. Many 
of them compared its climate to that of Orange Harbour, at Cape 
Horn, with its cold blustering winds and cloudy skies. This kind 
of weather prevails during the greater part of the year, and the 
comparison is literally true in relation to one portion of California, — 
the sea-coast. 

There is, perhaps, no other country where there is such a diversity 
of features, soil, and climate, as California. The surface exhibits the 
varieties of lofty ranges of mountains, confined valleys, and extensive 
plains. On the coast, a range of high land extends in length from 
Cape Mendocina to latitude 32° N., and in breadth into the interior 
from ten to twenty miles. 

The valley of San Juan, of no great extent, lies between these hills 
and the Sierra, which is a low range of mountains. East of the Sierra 
is the broad valley of the Sacramento, which is prolonged to the south 
in that of Buena Ventura, as far as Mount San Bernardino, under the 
thirty-fourth parallel. Beyond this valley is the Californian Range, 
which is a continuation of the Cascade Range of Oregon, and whose 
southern summits are capped with snow. This range gradually de- 
creases in height, until it declines into hills of moderate elevation. 
To the east of the Californian Mountains are the vast sandy plains, 
of which we know but little, except that they form a wide trackless 
waste, destitute of every thing that can fit it for the habitation of man 
or beast. 

The soil is as variable as the face of the country. On the coast 
range of hills there is little to invite the agriculturist, except in some 
vales, of no great extent. These hills are, however, admirably 
adapted for raising herds and flocks, and are at present the feeding- 
grounds of numerous deer, elk, &c, to which the short sweet grass 
and wild oats that are spread over them, afford a plentiful supply of 
food. No attempts have been made to cultivate the northern part of 
this section, nor is it susceptible of being the seat of any large agri- 
cultural operations. 


The valley of the Sacramento, and that of San Juan, are the most 
fruitful part of California, particularly the latter, which is capable of 
producing wheat, Indian corn, rye, oats, &c, with all the fruits of 
the temperate, and many of the tropical climates. It likewise offers 
fine pasture-grounds for cattle. This region comprises a level plain, 
from fifteen to twenty miles in width, extending from the bay of 
San Francisco, beyond the mission of that name, north and south. 
This may be termed the garden of California ; but although several 
small streams and lakes serve to water it, yet in dry seasons or 
droughts, not only the crops but the herbage also suffers extremely, 
and the cattle are deprived of food. 

The Sierra affords little scope for cultivation, being much broken, 
barren, and sandy. It is in places covered with cedar, pine, and 
oak ; but it offers few inducements to the settler. The great valley 
of Buena Ventura next succeeds, which, although it offers more 
prospects of profitable cultivation, is by all accounts far inferior to 
that of San Juan. It lies nearly parallel to the latter, and is watered 
by the San Joachim river and its branches. 

In this valley the Californian Indians principally dwell. The San 
Joachim receives its waters from the many streams that issue from 
the Californian range of mountains. These are well wooded, their 
base being covered with oaks, to which succeeds the red California 
cedar (Schoebertia abertina), and after it, in a still higher region, 
pines, until the snows are encountered. On the eastern side of this 
range, there is found very little timber, and in. consequence of the 
want of moisture, trees do not flourish, even on the west side. The 
inland plain, constituting a large part of Upper California, is, accord- 
ing to all accounts, an arid waste ; the few rivers that exist being 
periodical, and losing themselves in the sandy soil. 

Of the latter portion of country, however, there is little known, and 
the accounts given of it vary extensively. It has been crossed by 
seven persons, who differ altogether in respect to its appearance. One 
declared that the horses and men had not only a scanty supply of 
water, but were actually nearly famished for want of food ; while 
others have found both grass and water plentiful. The only thing 
that can reconcile these contradictory statements is, that these dif- 
ferent persons had visited the country at different seasons of the year. 
It seems not at all improbable that the first of these accounts should 
be the correct one, for we find great aridity throughout the rest of 

vol. v. 42 


California, and Oregon also. All agree that the middle and extensive 
portion of this country is destitute of the requisites for supplying the 
wants of man. 

In climate, California varies as much if not even more than in 
natural features and soil. On the coast range, it has as high a mean 
temperature in winter as in summer. The latter is in fact the coldest 
part of the year, owing to the constant prevalence of the north- 
west winds, which blow with the regularity of a monsoon, and are 
exceedingly cold, damp, and uncomfortable, rendering fire often 
necessary for comfort in midsummer. This is, however, but seldom 
resorted to, and many persons have informed me that they have suf- 
fered more from cold at Monterey, than in places of a much higher 
latitude. The climate thirty miles from the coast undergoes a great 
change, and in no part of the world is there to be found a finer or 
more equable one than in the valley of San Juan. It more resembles 
that of Andalusia, in Spain, than any other, and none can be more 
salubrious. The cold winds of the coast have become warmed, and 
have lost their force and violence, though they retain their freshness 
and purity. This strip of country is that in which the far-famed 
missions have been established ; and the accounts of these have led 
many to believe that the whole of Upper California was well adapted 
for agricultural uses. This is not the case, for the small district 
already pointed out is the only section of country where these ad- 
vantages are to be found. This valley extends beyond the pueblo 
of San Juan, or to the eastward of Monterey : it is of no great extent, 
being about twenty miles long by twelve wide. 

The Sierra, which separates the valley of San Juan from that of 
Buena Ventura, is about one thousand five hundred feet high, barren 
and sandy. Pines cover its summit, and the climate is exceedingly 
dry and arid, though cooled by the fresh wind that passes beyond 
them. Next comes the central valley of Buena Ventura, which is a 
continuation of the Sacramento, and through which the San Joachim 
flows. Being confined within the two ranges of mountains, and not 
having the same causes operating to modify the temperature as the 
smaller valley of San Juan, the heats of its summer are oppressive, 
the thermometer ranging, it is said, higher than within the torrid 
zone, and the heat continuing without cessation. 

Although the Californian Range is covered with snow in close 
proximity to this valley, it seems to have but little effect in modi- 


fying the climate, which is represented as tropical throughout the 
year. This valley extends as far south as the San Bernardino Moun- 
tain. The residents in California say that they have never known 
the wind to blow from the northeast within thirty miles of the coast. 

This state of things may also prevail in the interior, and will natu- 
rally prevent the cool stratum of air from descending into the valley, 
it being carried to the interior by the prevailing winds from an 
opposite quarter. 

In ordinary seasons these valleys are well watered by streams from 
the mountains, which vary very much in size : they are for some part 
of the year mere brooks, while during the rainy season, from No- 
vember to February, they become in some cases impassable. The 
Sacramento is the largest river in California. One of its branches, 
Destruction river, takes its rise near Mount Shaste, and was examined 
throughout the whole of its course by our land party, until it joined 
the Sacramento : the latter is thought by some to pass through the 
mountains and join Pitt's river. Pitt's river is said to take its rise to 
the northeast of the Shaste Mountain, and from the information that I 
received, extends as far as Pitt's Lake, under the forty-second parallel. 
I have reason to doubt whether the length of its course is so great, and 
believe that the Sacramento has its source in the eastern spurs of the 
Shaste Mountain. I have, however, indicated by a dotted line on the 
map, the course Pitt's river is thought to pursue before it joins the 
Sacramento. This, if correct, would give the Sacramento, with its 
branches, a course of two hundred miles from the ocean. 

The first branch of any size in descending the Sacramento is that 
called Feather river, which joins it below the Prairie Butes, coming 
from the northeast. This branch takes its rise in the California 
Mountains, near their northern end, and has a course of about forty 
miles. The American river is a small branch that joins the Sacra- 
mento at New Helvetia. After receiving this stream, the Sacramento 
is joined by the San Joachim, which courses from the south, and 
below their confluence enters the bay of San Pablo through the straits 
of Kacpaines, thence passing into the bay of San Francisco. 

It is navigable for boats to the distance of one hundred and fifty 
miles, and for vessels as far as New Helvetia. The upper portion of it, 
near the Prairie Butes, overflows its banks, and submerges the whole 
of the Sacramento Valley as far down as the San Joachim. This 
inundation is probably caused by the united effects of the Sacramento 


and the Feather rivers, as there is not in its bed sufficient room to 
discharge so large a quantity of water. This valley will be presently 
spoken of in connexion with its survey. 

The San Joachim does not pass through the Tula Lake as laid 
down by Coulter ; its sources are in the Californian Range. The 
Tula Lake is called by the Indians, Chintache Lake, it is for the most 
part separated from the channel of the river, but when full join it. 

There are many small streams that flow through the different 
valleys, and afford partial opportunities for irrigating the land ; but 
there are none of them navigable, except the Sacramento. 

Upper California may boast of one of the finest, if not the very best 
harbour in the world, that of San Francisco, as before described. 
Few are more extensive or could be as readily defended as it ; while 
the combined fleets of all the naval powers of Europe might moor in 
it. This is, however, the only really good harbour which this country 
possesses ; for the others so called may be frequented only during the 
fine season, being nothing more than roadsteads, affording little safety 
and but few supplies to vessels. 

Among these bays are that of Monterey, the capital of Upper Cali- 
fornia, and that of Santa Barbara and San Pedro. The two last are 
partly protected from the swell of the Pacific Ocean by the islands 
that cover them. They are, however, but seldom used, there being 
comparatively little trade upon all this coast; for the hides and tallow 
which formerly abounded and made the business profitable for vessels, 
are no longer to be procured. The destruction of the missions, and 
the onerous laws, duties, and prohibitions, have nearly destroyed the 
little traffic that once existed, and it is now all transferred to the bay 
of San Francisco. There a few hulks may be seen lying, furnished 
with every needful article : these keep up an illicit intercourse by 
the connivance of the officers of the customs, by whose cupidity the 
revenue laws are openly infringed, and what of right belongs to the 
government, goes to enrich the governor and his officers. 

The principal articles imported, are cotton cloths, velvet, silks, 
brandies, wines, teas, &c. ; in return for which they receive hides and 
tallow, skins, wheat, and salmon. The attention of the inhabitants has 
been principally directed to the raising of cattle, and the greater part of 
the wealth of California may be considered as consisting in live-stock. 
The exportations, on the average of years, is about one hundred and 
fifty thousand hides and two hundred thousand arrobas of tallow. The 


standard price for the former is two dollars, while the latter is worth 
one dollar and fifty cents the arroba. A few beaver skins are obtained, 
which do not exceed two thousand, and are valued at two dollars 
apiece. From four to five hundred sea-otter skins are brought in 
by the American hunters, which are valued at thirty dollars each. 
Wheat has been exported to the Russian posts, to the amount of 
twelve thousand bushels, of which the average price is about fifty 
cents a bushel. Of late, however, it has risen to two dollars and 
fifty cents, in consequence of the great drought that has prevailed. 
Among the exports may be also enumerated about three thousand 
elk and deer skins, which are valued at from fifty cents to a dollar 
each. The whole merchantable products may be estimated at less 
than a million of dollars. 

The yield of wheat is remarkable, and in some places, where the 
land is well situated, very large returns are received. Mr. Spears, of 
Yerba Buena, informed me that he had delivered to an active Ameri- 
can farmer thirty bushels of wheat for seed, at a time when it was 
difficult to procure it, under an agreement that he should have the 
refusal of the crop at the market price. In the July following, he 
delivered him three thousand bushels, and on its delivery, he found 
that the farmer had reserved six hundred bushels for himself; and 
this, without estimating the loss from bad reaping and treading out 
with horses, would give one hundred and twenty for one. This is 
not considered a fair criterion or average, as the land was remarkable 
for its richness and was well attended to; but Mr. Spears and several 
others assured me that the average would be as high as eighty 
bushels yielded for one planted. 

Indian corn yields well, as also potatoes, beans, and peas. The 
cultivation of vegetables is increasing rapidly, and supplies in these 
latter articles may be had in abundance and of the finest quality. 

The country appears to be well adapted for grapes. Those that 
have been tried at the missions yield most abundantly ; and about 
two hundred casks, each of eighteen gallons, of brandy, and the 
same quantity of wine, are made. The cultivation of the grape 
increases yearly, but is not sufficient for the supply of the country, 
as large quantities of foreign wines and liquors are imported, which 
pay an enormous duty; and although California may not boast of its 
dense population, every intelligent person I met with agreed that it 
consumed more spirits in proportion than any other part of the 
world. Brandy sells for sixty to seventy dollai's the cask, or four 

vol. v. 43 


dollars a gallon, while the price of wine is only eighteen dollars. 
The wine of the country which I tasted is miserahle stuff, and would 
scarcely be taken for the juice of the grape. 

The salmon-fishery, if attended to, would be a source of consi- 
derable profit, yet I was told that the Californians never seem 
disposed to attempt to take them. The general opinion is, that they 
are too indolent to bestir themselves, and they naturally choose the 
employment which gives them the least trouble. Above every thing, 
the rearing of cattle requires the least labour in this country, for it is 
only necessary to provide keepers and have their cattle marked. This 
done, they can support themselves by the increase of the stock. At 
the missions, the manufacture of various coarse articles had been under- 
taken by the missionaries as a step in the education of the neophytes. 
Among these were blankets and wearing apparel sufficient to supply 
all the Indians; but, with the decline of these establishments, the 
manufactures have in great part been discontinued. Soap of a good 
quality is manufactured in considerable quantities, and it is thought 
that it might be exported at a profit, if the proper arrangements were 
made to use the grease that is now thrown away. The necessary 
alkali is very abundant. Leather of an excellent quality is also made 
and well tanned, but in such small quantities as to be hardly sufficient 
to supply the wants of the country. 

There are in California only two or three water-mills for grinding 
flour, and these are owned by foreigners. The mills in general use 
in the country, are composed of no more than two burr-stones. To 
the upper stone a cross-beam is secured, to which mule-power is 
applied. In most of the estancias there is to be found a mill in an 
apartment adjoining the kitchen, if not in it. The whole is as 
primitive as well can be, although I have no doubt it answers all the 
wants of this rude and indolent people. 

From all accounts, besides cattle, the country is well adapted for 
the raising of sheep, which simply require watching, as they can 
find plenty of nutritious food the whole year round ; but there has 
been no attention paid to this sort of stock, and the wool is of very 
ordinary quality. The mutton is thought to be of very fine flavour. 
The usual price for a sheep is from one dollar and fifty cents to two 
dollars, when a choice is made for killing. 

Hogs are raised in some parts, and might be fed to great advantage 
on the acorns which are abundant on the hills where the land is not 
susceptible of cultivation. Pork may be packed at three dollars the 


hundred-weight. What adds to the facility of doing this business, is 
the fact that large quantities of salt collect in the ponds in the dry 
season, which may be obtained for the expense of carting it. 

As respects trade, it may be said there is scarcely any, for it is so 
interrupted, and so much under the influence of the governor and the 
officers of the customs, that those attempting to carry on any under 
the forms usual elsewhere, would probably find it a losing busi- 
ness. Foreigners, however, contrive to evade this by keeping their 
vessels at anchor, and selling a large portion of their cargoes from 
on board. Great partiality is shown to those of them who have a 
full understanding with his excellency the governor ; and from what 
I was given to understand, if this be not secured, the traders are liable 
to exactions and vexations without number. The enormous duties, 
often amounting to eighty per cent, ad valorem, cause much dissatis- 
faction on the part of the consumers : the whole amount raised is 
about two hundred thousand dollars per annum, which is found barely 
sufficient to pay the salaries of the officers, and defray the costs of the 
government feasts, which are frequent, and usually cost a thousand 
dollars each. These emoluments are shared among the heads of 
departments at Monterey, whilst the soldiers are often for months 
without their pay, and are made to take it in whatever currency it 
may suit the government to give. Besides the above duties, there is 
a municipal tax on many things : thus, a dollar is demanded on every 
gallon of spirits imported ; fifty cents on each beaver or otter skin, 
and on other articles in the same ratio. Next come the church tithes, 
which are enormous. I heard of a farmer who was made to pay 
one hundred and ninety dollars as the tithe on his produce, although 
he lives far removed from either church or priest. All these things 
are bringing the government into great disrepute, and the governor is 
every day becoming more and more unpopular ; so much so, that his 
orders have not been complied with, and have been treated with 
contempt, particularly when he desires to recruit his forces. A short 
time before our arrival, he sent a list to a pueblo of the young men to 
be drafted as soldiers ; when it was received, they in a body refused 
to go, and sent back the disrespectful and defying message, that he 
might come and take them. 

Nothing can be in a worse state than the lower offices, such as the 
alcaldes, &c. They are now held by ignorant men, who have no 
ideas of justice, which is generally administered according to the 
alcalde's individual notions, as his feelings may be enlisted, or the 


standing of the parties. To recover a debt by legal means, is consi- 
dered as beyond a possibility, and creditors must wait until the debtor 
is disposed to pay. Fortunately, and to the honour of the country, 
a just claim is rarely or never denied ; and, until lately, the word of 
a Californian was sufficient to insure the payment of claims on him ; 
but, such has been the moral degradation to which the people have 
fallen since the missions have been robbed by the authorities, and the 
old priests driven out, that no reliance can be placed now upon their 
promises, and all those who have of late trusted them, complain that 
engagements are not regarded, and that it is next to impossible to 
obtain any returns for goods that have been delivered. The state of 
the country is, however, some excuse, as it has been impossible for any 
one to make calculations under the existing anarchy and confusion. 

It was at first believed that the revolution which took place in 
November 1836, would result in much immediate good to those who 
effected it ; but such has not been the case. Foreigners unquestion- 
ably performed a large part in planning and carrying the change out; 
yet none have suffered so much by it as they have. 

Much of this derangement of business has grown out of the state 
of the country for the last twenty years ; and, although its history 
is of little importance, a succinct sketch of it may not be wholly 
devoid of interest. The facts are derived both from Californian and 
Mexican authorities, as well as from Americans ; and, although the 
accounts frequently differ in some particulars, yet as to the main 
points they agree. 

Previous to the year of the revolution by which California was 
separated from old Spain (1823), the whole country may be said to 
have been under the rale of the missions, and the padres who were at 
their head had acquired a vast influence over the Indians, as well as 
amongst the soldiery who were placed in the presidios as the guards 
and protectors of the missions. There were twenty-one missions, and 
only four presidios. The power of the governors was usually rather 
nominal than real, and the troops, from being totally neglected, were 
dependent upon the missions almost for their daily bread. For- 
tunately for the country, the padres and rulers of the missions were 
men well adapted for their calling : good managers, sincere Chris- 
tians, they exerted a salutary influence over all in any way connected 
with them, practising at the same time the proper virtues of their 
calling, in order more effectually to inculcate them upon others. 
These reverend men were all old Spaniards, and greatly attached to 


their king and country. When the revolution broke out, they 
declined taking the oath to the new government : many, in conse- 
quence, left their missions and retired from the country, and some of 
the others have since died. 

Thus, at the same time with a change of rulers, the country was 
deprived of the religious establishments upon which its society and 
good order were founded. Anarchy and confusion began to reign, 
and the want of authority was every where felt. Some of the mis- 
sions were deserted ; the property which had been amassed in them 
was dissipated, and the Indians turned off to seek their native wilds. 

At the time of the separation from Spain, a Californian, by name 
Arguello, was governor. On his being appointed to that office, one 
Noniga, a Spanish officer, disliking to be commanded by a Califor- 
nian, attempted to oppose him. In order to silence this opposition, 
Noniga was put in command of the presidio of Santa Barbara, where, 
owing to his misconduct, he was soon dismissed, upon which he 
again sought to excite the Mexicans against the Californians, and to 
impress them with the same deadly hatred which he himself felt. 
"With this intent, he omitted no opportunity to represent the actions 
and conduct of the Californian authorities in the most odious light. 

The government of Mexico saw the evils that they had occa- 
sioned, when it was too late, and set about remedying them, as well 
as to fill the vacancies that had occurred. For this purpose, they 
were disposed to consult the old padres, and offered those who 
remained, the choice of the northern or southern section, that they 
might be united in a body. The old Spanish priests chose the 
southern missions ; and the few establishments which lie to the north 
of San Miguel, were assigned to those from the college of Xacatecas, 
in Mexico. 

By this time the supreme government became convinced that 
although they had apparently adopted the best mode of palliating the 
injury the missions had received, yet it had served rather to increase 
the difficulty. The new Mexican priests were in every way inferior 
to the old Spaniards, neither possessing their intelligence, their skill 
in governing, their correct principles, nor their dignity of deport- 
ment ; in short, they were totally unfit for their situation. 

In 1825, the supreme government appointed Don Jose Echandia, 
a Mexican, to succeed Arguello as governor ; and he gave universal 
satisfaction, till 1829, when a revolt took place among the Californians 
and Indians in the garrison of Monterey, in consequence of their not 

vol. v. 44 


receiving the arrears of pay that were due them. The governor, 
with becoming energy, put down this disturbance, and restored 

In 1831, Echandia was succeeded by Don Manuel Victoria, who 
changed the whole policy of his predecessor. He became at once, 
from his tyrannical conduct, extremely unpopular, and in the first 
year of his administration was so severely wounded in a skirmish at 
Los Angelos as to be incapable of continuing in the command. The 
insurrection, of which this skirmish was an incident, was the most 
serious that had occurred. It owed its formidable character, as was 
believed, to the aid which the foreigners gave the Californians : 
this was the first time the former had interfered with the affairs of 
the country. 

After this event, General Figueroa, who was sent to rule over Upper 
California, by his mild yet firm deportment, reconciled opinions, and 
put down all opposition. His administration is still spoken of as 
having been conducted with great ability and moderation. By his 
recommendation, the supreme government had sent out a colony of 
two hundred labourers and agriculturists, of which the country was 
much in want, to Monterey ; but instead of their being what Figueroa 
had asked for, or such as were reported to have been sent, they turned 
out to be mere idlers, who had been living at the public expense. The 
arrival of this colony produced the most unhappy effects, and with 
them arose an enmity between the Californians and Mexicans, that 
has acquired additional acrimony from the favour shown the latter 
by the succeeding governors. Figueroa died in 1835, greatly re- 
gretted by all : his death proved a great loss to the country, for, had 
he lived, things would probably have turned out favourably. 

Colonel Chico, the next in command, succeeded Figueroa, but was 
ill-suited for the situation, and the contrast between him and his pre- 
decessor was too perceptible for him to give satisfaction ; his conduct 
towards the inhabitants tended to increase the unfavourable impres- 
sions he had first made. It was not long before a dispute arose 
between him and the supreme judge of the district, upon the question 
as to which of them the chief authority belonged. Parties became 
very violent, and Chico determined to put down all opposition by mili- 
tary force. This course gave great dissatisfaction, and, coupled with 
his arbitrary conduct towards the inhabitants and the missions, created 
a determination to resist him, if he did not resign. A letter was written 
to him to that effect, upon which he felt himself compelled to deliver 


over the reins of government into the hands of a successor, to avoid 
the difficulties and dangers to which he would otherwise have been 

The next in command was Don Nicolas Gutierez, a lieutenant 
colonel : under this officer tranquillity was apparently restored for a 

During the preceding years, many foreigners had settled in Cali- 
fornia, who had taken a part in its affairs. These included natives 
of all countries ; and among them were to be found Americans, who 
had led the lives of hunters and trappers, some of whom had been 
living in the Rocky Mountains, and on the Columbia river, whilst 
others had come from Mexico. These persons were naturally of a 
restless disposition, and disposed to engage in any thing that would 
produce excitement ; bold and reckless in their disposition, they could 
not remain quiet under the turn things were taking in California, and 
they now joined and instigated the party opposed to the governor. 
They argued that California ought to form itself into a free state, by 
declaring its independence of Mexico, which had not the power to 
govern it. At that time any plausible arguments had weight with 
so ignorant a people as the Californians, and this idea was rendered 
acceptable by the ill-will they bore the Mexicans, and the obvious 
want of legitimate power. The project of overturning the govern- 
ment was also entertained by those who had previously held office, 
and particularly by the administrador of the customs, Ramierez, and 
Cosme Penne, a drunken lawyer, who was the assessor. They were 
both Mexicans by birth, and belonged to the ultra liberals. With 
them was joined the inspector, Alvarado, who was extremely popular 
with the foreigners. The two former, knowing the ignorance that 
prevailed among the Californians, constituted themselves leaders, and 
expected, in the event of any change, to be benefited by it; but at the 
same time they looked with some degree of mistrust and jealousy 
upon the foreigners resident there. 

Under such circumstances, the least difficulty was sufficient to 
bring about a revolution, and it was not long before one occurred that 
caused an outbreak, and ended in the overthrow of the authorities. 
About the beginning of November 1836, a dispute arose between 
the governor and Alvarado, the inspector of the customs, who 
was threatened with arrest. The popularity of Alvarado with the 
foreigners caused them at once to take a warm interest in his behalf; 
and, without inquiring into the right or wrong of the business, 


they espoused his cause. Alvarado fled to the country, and raised 
the standard of revolt in the pueblo of San Juan, some leagues from 
Monterey. The people of California being naturally lazy, ignorant, 
and indifferent, required some strong stimulus to arouse them ; but 
this was effected, and in consequence of the dissoluteness of the 
priesthood, and the loss of clerical influence with the lower orders, 
which ten years of their bad management of the missions had 
brought about, they were quite unable to restrain the people. It has 
even been alleged that they favoured the design, in order to have a 
change, and avoid the heavy exactions that had been made upon 
them of late by the governor. Be this so or not, there was either no 
exertion made by the clergy in favour of the government, or their 
power was too insignificant to be effective. 

The people were easily persuaded that a shameful misappropriation 
of public funds had taken place, and that the robbery of the missions 
was still going on. The discovery that Chico, who, as has been 
stated, was forced to resign in favour of the then governor, had de- 
frauded the troops of their pay, and the missions of twenty thousand 
dollars, satisfied every one that such embezzlement was going on, 
and furnished a powerful incentive to many to join the standard of 
Alvarado. He was now acting under the advice and by the direc- 
tions of the foreigners, who declared their intentions to be — 1st. To 
hoist a new flag, and declare California independent of Mexico. 2d. 
To banish all Mexicans. 3d. That California should be declared an 
independent state ; and 4th. That all foreigners then under arms, or 
who took part in the revolution, should be declared citizens. These 
declarations, although they had the desired effect, were evidently 
made rather to satisfy the foreigners than to please the natives, and 
are supposed to have emanated from the administrador Ramierez, 
and Penne. These men, the most able of the Californians, were 
desirous to make use of the foreigners to gain their own ends, in 
which they so far succeeded, that although the foreigners were, in 
regard to fighting, the prominent actors in the revolution, the result 
proved that they were but tools employed to gain the ulterior ends of 
these two designing persons. 

Alvarado was now directed to move forward towards Monterey, 
which from all accounts he was of himself unwilling to do ; but the 
directors of his movements impelled him forward. Who these were, 
is not well known ; but the presumption is, that various citizens of the 
United States, as well as of England, advised and gave him promises 


of aid. On the 2d of November, he arrived with his force at Mon- 
terey; it consisted of about two hundred men, of whom twenty-five 
were American hunters, the only part of his force that was effective. 
Some accounts give a smaller number, and state it at less than half 
of this. Gutierez, believing the Presidio impregnable, shut himself 
up in it with about one hundred and seventy persons, sixty of whom 
were regular soldiers. 

The Presidio was at once invested, the beach taken possession of, 
and a communication opened with several American vessels then 
lying in the bay. The energy and activity exhibited by Alvarado's 
party indicated that their movements were directed by others than 
Spaniards or Californians. 

Gutierez seems to have proved himself weak and imbecile in 
allowing these advantages to be obtained without making any en- 
deavours to attack the insurgents. It is said, however, (and his 
actions certainly give some countenance to the idea,) that the dread 
in which the American hunters were held by himself and men, pre- 
vented his making any effective effort : in fact, their fame for skill in 
the use of the rifle was known and duly appreciated. 

On the 3d, the insurgents were found to be in possession of some 
cannon, which they established on a neighbouring height, and were 
amply supplied with ammunition. . As it was known that neither 
arms of this kind nor gunpowder were on shore, there is little doubt 
that they obtained them from the vessels in the bay ; and those who 
were likely to reap the most advantage from a change in the admi- 
nistration of affairs, were suspected of aiding the insurgents with the 
means that rendered them, in point of equipment, superior to their 

On the 4th, Gutierez received an official letter, demanding the 
surrender of the Presidio and every thing in it. Previous to this, he 
had determined to resist until the last ; but on inquiry, he found that 
various means had been used to win over the soldiers, who were 
already disaffected on account of the arrearages of pay due to them. 
To capitulate was now the only thing to be done ; but it was neces- 
sary for him to call a council of his officers and deliberate upon the 
terms offered, or submit to the place being stormed. It is said that 
this council wore away the whole night, in propositions how they 
could avoid a surrender or obtain relief, without coming to any 

At dawn on the 5th, their hunter adversaries becoming impatient 

vol. v. 45 


at the delay, fired an eighteen-pound ball, which struck the centre of 
the roof of the Presidio, directly over the apartment where the council 
was held. This messenger brought them to a quick decision, and in a 
few minutes a flag of truce was sent out, surrendering unconditionally. 

At ten o'clock, the deputation which had heen appointed, consist- 
ing of Alvarado, Castro, and two ignorant Rancheros, marched in 
with their force, accompanied, it is said, by some American masters 
of vessels who were in port. Gutierez and his followers laid down 
their arms and accepted the stipulations; which were a guarantee of 
life to himself and officers, and that those who chose might either 
remain in the country or be suffered to depart. The Mexican flag 
was now hauled down; when the courage of Alvarado and the deputa- 
tion failed them, and they refused to hoist the flag of California, which 
had been prepared for the occasion and was then ready to be dis- 
played, without first holding a council. This was supposed to be 
done through the advice of Ramierez and Cosme Penne, who now 
found that the affair had reached the point they desired, and that it 
was necessary to prevent any further act in favour of the foreigners. 
The council was accordingly held, and Miguel Ramierez and Cosme 
Penne were both allowed to be present. The four articles of declara- 
tions formally made, and that have been above recited, were read over 
for the purpose of being considered and adopted; when these two 
stated it was not according to their understanding of the plan agreed 
upon : that it was not to declare the country altogether free and inde- 
pendent of Mexico, but only until the constitution of 1824 should be 
established. Upon this, the members of the deputation, who were per- 
fectly ignorant of their duties or business, simply answered : " Well, 
very well ; it is just what we wanted : some persons who have longer 
heads than any of us to put us in the right way and help us better out 
of the scrape we have got into." Don Cosme immediately took advan- 
tage of this, and gave the watchword, "Viva California libre, y muerte 
a la centralism !" — upon which the Mexican flag was again hoisted. 
This produced much dissatisfaction among the foreigners, and the 
fear of them prevented Ramierez and Cosme Penne from going 
farther. In the selection of officers, Alvarado was nominated as 
governor, by Castro; General Vallejo, as commandant-general; Castro, 
as lieutenant-colonel of the militia ; and the inebriate Cosme Penne, 
as secretary of state. 

This proved satisfactory to the foreigners, although it was not what 
they wished ; but the act removing one-half the duties was still more so. 


It was soon determined that the Mexicans ought to be removed at 
once out of the country, notwithstanding the stipulations of the sur- 
render to the contrary. Accordingly, the British brig Clementine 
was chartered, in which Gutierez and all his officers, with a large 
number of his men, were embai-ked, and ordered to be landed at 
Cape San Lucas, the southern point of Lower California. 

Thus in a few days were the authorities changed, without a single 
gun being fired but the one above spoken of, and without any blood- 
shed whatever. At the time of despatching the Clementine, Alvarado, 
with the advice of Cosme and Ramierez, purchased a small schooner, 
and sent her at once to a port in Mexico to inform the supreme go- 
vernment of every thing that had taken place, adding that they were 
willing to remain in allegiance, if they were allowed to choose their 
own officers. In the mean time they sent commissioners to demand 
that the other presidios should be given up, and that the inhabitants 
should acknowledge the authority of those who had overturned the 
government. This the officers and inhabitants refused to do, upon 
which Alvarado marched against Santa Barbara with his Rancheros, 
for the hunters had, for the most part, left him. He was met by a 
superior force, commanded by a former deputy, named Castillo ; but 
the schooner returned previous to hostilities being commenced, bring- 
ing not only a confirmation of the appointment of Alvarado and the 
others, but with a supply of arms, ammunition, and clothing for the 
troops, to the amount of ten thousand dollars. When this became 
known, Castillo and Alvarado became friends, the former acknowledg- 
ing the authority of the latter, while Alvarado, it is said, took the 
oath of allegiance to the central government. 

Alvarado now returned to Monterey, where, feeling himself more 
firmly established in his new office, and having been by this caprice 
of fortune raised above his deserts, he became arrogant to his country- 
men, and alienated the foreigners by whom he had been assisted. 

It will scarcely be necessary to say, that by this time the missions 
had lost all their control over the community. The government had 
seized upon their lands, and appointed an administrador to take charge 
of the property (which had been decided under an old Spanish law 
to belong to the government), as well as to rule over the Indians. 
From the priest were thus removed all further responsibilities and 
duties, except those strictly clerical. This act brought about the 
ruin of the missions. The moral and religious usefulness of the 
priests had been destroyed before, and now the property that was 


still left became a prey to the rapacity of the governor, the needy 
officers, and the administrador, who have well-nigh consumed all. 
Some of the missions, that had from forty to eighty thousand head 
of cattle, are now left with less than two thousand, and are literally 
going to ruin. They are no more what they once were, the pride of 
the padres, and the seat of the wealth and prosperity of the country. 
Moreover, this state of things has left the whole community destitute 
of any moral guide whatever, and without any sort of religious obser- 
vance, except by a few individuals past the middle age. Alvarado 
and General Vallejo have the reputation of being foremost in pro- 
ducing this state of things. 

After a short time, it was found that the customs did not produce 
the required revenue; and the new government, fearing to tax the 
people and missions too openly, resorted to a renewal of the double 
duties, before more than two vessels had touched on the coast. 
Every day produced some restrictions upon the foreigners, who had 
now become estranged from the existing government that they had 
assisted to establish. Alvarado, finding his acts disapproved of by 
them, grew suspicious and jealous of their presence; for he well 
knew, from the manner of his own elevation, what an effective body 
they were. 

This state of things continued until the month of April, 1840, when 
Alvarado, anticipating an insurrectionary movement, and knowing the 
confidence that the aid of the foreigners would give the malcontent 
Californians, determined to rid the territory of them. For the purpose 
of obtaining some colour for the violence he intended, an English- 
man, by the name of Gardner, was found, who deposed that all the 
foreigners, from San Francisco to San Diego, or from one extreme 
of California to the other, a distance of six or seven hundred miles, 
had conspired to murder the governor and take possession of the 
country ; that an American, by the name of Graham, a trapper from 
the state of Kentucky, was their leader ; and that they were to 
rendezvous for the purpose at Nativetes, the residence of Graham. 
Colonel Castro was accordingly sent thither, with the prefect, two 
inferior officers, and fifteen armed soldiers. They proceeded to 
Nativetes, which is about twenty miles from Monterey ; but, as they 
well knew that Graham was a resolute, strong, and brave man, it 
was necessary to take great precautions. They therefore chose 
midnight for their attack, at which hour they reached his farm. On 
their arrival they forced open the door, and at once fired a volley into 


the bed, where he lay asleep, and so close to it that they set fire to his 
blankets. Graham was wounded in several places, and badly burnt. 

On being thus awakened, he attempted to defend himself, but was 
overpowered by numbers, inhumanly beaten, and then tied hand and 
foot. A working-man, who attended the cattle with him, by the 
name of Shard, also an American, was held down by two men, while 
a third deliberately cut the tendons of his legs with a butcher's knife, 
and left him to die. Graham was then tied upon a horse, and carried 
to Monterey, where he was loaded with irons, and placed in a filthy 
cell; — torn from the property he had accumulated, amounting to four 
or five thousand dollars in specie, and about ten thousand dollars in 
cattle, which he had reared and bought, through his own industry : 
this, it is supposed, fell into the hands of the governor, who was much 
in want of funds at the time, and could conceive of no way by which 
his coffers could be so readily replenished as by such a wholesale 

After the arrest of Graham, more than sixty foreigners were taken 
up immediately, put into irons, and cast into prison with him. At the 
same time, orders were issued to apprehend every foreigner found 
upon the coast, and in case of their not giving bonds for their appear- 
ance, they were to be thrust into prison. 

Forty-seven of these men were embarked in a vessel called the 
Guipuzcoa, loaded with irons, nearly half of whom are said to have 
been citizens of the United States. One of these died from the 
treatment he received ; and the hardships they were obliged to 
undergo on their journey to Tepic, are almost past belief. 

The Guipuzcoa was eleven days on her passage to San Bias, 
during which time the prisoners were kept in the hold of this small 
vessel, without light or air, and endured every description of ill 
treatment. On their arrival at San Bias, they were landed without 
delay, and immediately marched, in the short space of two days, to 
Tepic, a distance of sixty miles. 

The thermometer was at 90°; the road was mountainous and 
rough ; they were barefooted, heavily ironed, and without any food, 
except what was given them from charity. They were urged forward 
by lashes inflicted on their naked bodies, and one who sank under 
the fatigue was severely beaten with the but-end of a musket. 

At Tepic, they found in the English and American consuls kind 
friends, who exerted themselves to relieve their wants, and finally, 
through their remonstrances, and those of the English and American 

vol. v. 46 


ministers, they were allowed to return to California ; and orders were 
given that they should produce certificates of their losses, and be 
paid for them. All the Englishmen have returned, with every 
necessary document to establish their claims, and obtain redress for 
their wrongs ; but on the part of the Americans, this is far from being 
the case. Of them none but Graham have returned, and he is broken 
both in health and spirits. What remuneration he has received, I 
did not learn ; but the French and English have all obtained indem- 
nity, through the attention their governments have paid to their 
wrongs. Ours alone has failed in the prompt protection of its 
citizens ; and many complaints are made by our countrymen abroad 
that the government at home seems to have very little regard for 
their lives or property. 

It would appear by this want of attention on the part of our govern- 
ment, that it had not been fully satisfied that the conduct of its citizens 
had been correct; at least, that is the feeling among them abroad. I 
have little" testimony on this subject, except the protestations of many 
of those who have been more or less suspected of taking part in the 
expected revolt. I can say, that all the accounts I received inva- 
riably spoke of the foreigners as having had nothing to do with the 
intended outbreak, even if it were organized ; and every one should 
be satisfied that they were innocent, by the fact that in Mexico they 
were all adjudged to be entirely guiltless of the charges brought 
against them, and that they were sent back at the expense of the 
Mexican government, with letters of security, and an order making it 
obligatory on the Governor of California to assist them in procuring 
evidence of the damages they had sustained. Although this may 
have been ample satisfaction, so far as mere remuneration goes, yet 
for the barbarous conduct shown to them by the authorities, some 
punishment ought to have been inflicted, and an example made. But 
such has not been the case, and those officers are still kept in their high 
places, with the power to repeat like barbarities. There is no other 
way to account for this not being insisted upon, than by supposing 
that the Mexicans hold so little authority over this territory as to 
make them extremely scrupulous how they take any measures that 
may cause the dismemberment of the state, and the loss of even the 
nominal dominion they now possess. 

The situation of Upper California will cause its separation from 
Mexico before many years. The country between it and Mexico can 
never be any thing but a barren waste, which precludes all intercourse 


except that by sea, always more or less interrupted by the course of 
the winds, and the unhealthfulness of the lower or seaport towns of 
Mexico. It is very probable that this country will become united 
with Oregon, with which it will perhaps form a state that is destined 
to control the destinies of the Pacific. This future state is admirably 
situated to become a powerful maritime nation, with two of the finest 
ports in the world, — that within the straits of Juan de Fuca, and 
San Francisco. These two regions have, in fact, within themselves 
every thing to make them increase, and keep up an intercourse 
with the whole of Polynesia, as well as the countries of South 
America on the one side, and China, the Philippines, New Holland, 
and New Zealand, on the other. Among the latter, before many 
years, may be included Japan. Such various climates will furnish 
the materials for a beneficial interchange of products, and an inter- 
course that must, in time, become immense ; while this western coast, 
enjoying a climate in many respects superior to any other in the 
Pacific, possessed as it must be by the Anglo-Norman race, and 
having none to enter into rivalry with it but the indolent inhabi- 
tants of warm climates, is evidently destined to fill a large space in 
the world's future history. 

Although I have already spoken of the Indians, yet in order to 
make the state of the country fully understood, it is necessary to 
explain their former connexion with the missions, as well as their 
present condition. 

The Indians who were brought into the fold of the missions, were 
either induced through persuasion, by force, or enticed by presents : 
the agreement, or rather law, was, that they should be converted to 
Christianity ; and for this benefit conferred upon them, they were to 
give ten years' faithful service, after which time they were to be at 
liberty, and to have allotted to them a small piece of land for cultiva- 
tion, and a few cattle, provided they could get the security of any 
respectable person for their good behaviour. This seldom happened; 
but their treatment was much more kind after the expiration of their 
term of service, and they usually remained in the employ of the 
missions, having become attached to their masters and occupations. 
These chiefly consisted in taking care of cattle, the work of the farm, 
gardening, and household duties. Some became carpenters and 
blacksmiths; others weavers, shoemakers, and manufacturers of 
leather ; and some were let out to private service to " gente de razon," 
or people of reason, as the whites are termed. The police of the mis- 
sions was strict, and punishment was administered when required ; but 


then rewards for good behaviour were also given, as well as for 
bringing in neophytes. In the latter way, it is said that the missions 
were usually recruited. 

During the troubles of 1836, the Indians of many of the missions 
were cast off neglected, and in fact deprived of the proceeds of their 
labour. They had reason to believe, as had been impressed upon 
them by the Spanish padres, that they were interested in the pro- 
ceeds and wealth that had been accumulated by their labour; and 
this belief had naturally tended to attach them to the soil. 

The ravages of the small-pox, two years prior to our visit, com- 
pleted the destruction of these establishments ; for it swept off one- 
half of the Indians, and served to dispirit the rest. Many of them 
have joined the wild Indians, and are now committing acts of violence 
on the whites ; they are becoming daily more daring, and have 
rendered a residence in single farm-houses or estancias not without 
danger. In looking at the state in which these poor Indians have 
been left, it cannot be denied but that they have cause to be dissatis- 
fied with the treatment they have received. 

Every mission was regarded as a separate family of Indians, and 
some of these included twelve hundred individuals. During the 
management of the Spanish priests, every thing was judiciously con- 
ducted : the Indians were well dressed, well fed, and happy ; out of 
their earnings the priests were able to buy annually ten thousand 
dollars' worth of articles for their wants and gratification, from the 
vessels trading upon the coast. Each mission formed a body politic 
of itself, having its own alcalde, inferior officers, &c, and every thing 
went on prosperously. The Indians, though at first disinclined to 
work, soon became industrious, when they found the benefits and ad- 
vantages that accrued to themselves, and became converts to Christian- 
ity, so far as forms went, in order to entitle them to its presents. It is 
not surprising that a rapid increase of wealth took place, considering 
the number of labourers in the field, added to a rich soil and fine 

As has been before stated, in 1835, orders from the supreme govern- 
ment were issued, administradors were appointed to each mission, and 
the priests were deprived of their sway, leaving them only their clerical 
duties to attend to, with a small stipend. So far as they were person- 
ally concerned, this was deserved ; for, with but one or two exceptions, 
their lives were entirely opposite to what they ought to have been; they 
were openly and publicly dissolute. The administradors have made 
themselves and those by whom they were appointed, rich upon the 


spoils of these missions ; and so great have been the drafts upon some 
of these missions, that they have not been able to support their 
neophytes. The mission of San Jose, for instance, during the year 
of our visit, was obliged to order off five hundred of its proselytes, to 
procure their subsistence as they best could. These acts seem to be 
committed without any kind of consideration, or idea that there is 
any injustice practised: the property acquired by the missions is 
looked upon as belonging to the state ; the claims of the Indians are 
entirely overlooked, and in the event of their taking the cattle that in 
truth belong to them, they are severely punished. This naturally 
irritates them, for not only can they perceive the injustice of others 
appropriating the fruits of their labour, but are exasperated by seeing 
them living upon the common stock, while they are obliged to seek 
a precarious subsistence in the forest. 

In consequence of this state of things, depredations are continually 
committed by the Indians; and, a month previous to the arrival of 
the squadron, they had driven off three hundred horses. Retaliatory 
measures on the part of the Californiaus were adopted ; a party was 
collected and despatched to punish them, which proceeded towards 
the interior, came to a village, and without any inquiry whether its 
dwellers had been the aggressors, it was set on fire, and reduced to 
ashes; some of the defenceless old men, who from their infirmities 
could not escape, were put to death, and forty or fifty women and 
children carried off as prisoners. This was not all : these prisoners 
were apportioned as slaves to various families, with whom they still 
remain in servitude, and receive very harsh treatment. Smarting 
under such wrongs, it is not surprising that the Indians should reta- 
liate. They openly assert that after taking all the horses, they will 
commence with families; and many of those which are situated on 
the frontiers, experience much alarm. In June 1841, an Englishman 
was shot by an arrow at the door of his house, early in the evening. 
The Indians enticed him out by making a noise near by, and the 
moment he opened the door, with a candle in his hand, an arrow was 
sent through his heart. 

The Indians at present rarely steal any thing but horses ; but so 
daring are they, that they not unfrequently take them out of the 
enclosures near the pueblos. Their reason for confining themselves 
to this description of property is, that with them they are able to 
avoid pursuit, which would not be the case if they took cattle. The 
Californians, on detecting and apprehending the aggressors, show 

vol. v. 47 


them no mercy, and their lives are made the forfeit. This constant 
foray on one side or the other, keeps up a continual embitter ment, 
and as long as the present imbecile government lasts, this state of 
things must every day grow worse, and will undoubtedly tend to 
affect the value of property, as well as to prevent emigration to, and 
settlement in the country. 

To all strangers but those of the Spanish race, the Indians seem in 
general well disposed, as they have usually received from the former 
considerate and kind treatment. The character of these Indians is 
not represented as savage, and they were little disposed to trouble the 
whites until they had been themselves ejected from the missions, 
and forced to consort M r ith those who are yet in a wild state. The 
knowledge they have of the Californians, of the missionary establish- 
ments, and the manner of conducting them, enables them to act more 
effectively ; and if it were not for the presence of the English and 
Americans, they would either drive the Spanish race out of the 
country, or confine them to the narrow limits of their villages. 

The number of Indians is variously stated, at from twelve to fifteen 
thousand ; but it is believed by some of the best informed, that their 
number, since the small-pox made its ravages among them, is not 
much more than one-half of this number, or eight or nine thousand. 
The principal part of these are the tribes on the Sacramento. 

In like manner, there has been an exaggeration in the computation 
of the number of the whites, or gente de razon. These have been 
usually estimated at five thousand ; but, from the best information, I 
could not satisfy myself that they number more than three thousand 
souls. In this estimate is not included those of mixed blood, who 
may amount to two thousand more ; so that in the whole of Upper 
California, at the date of our visit, the entire population was about 
fifteen thousand souls ; and this, estimate cannot be far from the 

The health and robustness of the white inhabitants seem remark- 
able, and must be attributed to the fine climate, as well as to their 
simple diet. This consists of beef roasted upon the coals, a few vege- 
tables, and the tortilla, which is a thin cake, made of corn-meal, and 
baked upon a sheet of iron. Throughout the country, both with the 
rich and poor, this is the general fare; but some few luxuries have 
been lately introduced, among which are rice and tea. The latter is 
used so sparingly, that the discoloration of the water is scarcely 
perceptible. At the missions they live more after the Spanish 


fashion. The children are, for the most part, left to take care of 
themselves, and run about naked and dirty. They are generally 
robust, and their relative number seems to be very great; thus, it is 
by no means uncommon to see families of fourteen or fifteen children ; 
and an instance was mentioned to me of a woman near Yerba Buena, 
who had had twenty-six. A large number die from accidental falls 
from horses, with which from their earliest childhood they are accus- 
tomed to be engaged. They early become expert and' fearless riders, 
and this skill is not confined altogether to the male sex ; the women 
are almost equally expert. Families with numerous members are 
seldom met with who have not had to mourn the loss of several of 
their number from casualties of this sort. 

Although the Californians are comparatively few in number, yet 
they have a distinctive character. Descended from the old Spaniards, 
they are unfortunately found to have all their vices, without a proper 
share of their virtues ; they are exceedingly fond of gambling, which 
is equally in favour with the male and female portion of the commu- 
nity. Their games consist in cards, dice, &c. 

Their amusements are cock-flo-hting, bull and bear-baiting, and 
dancing ; these are the predominant occupations of their lives, always 
accompanied with excessive drinking. Parties of amusement, to 
which the surrounding population is invited, are frequent ; these 
generally last for three days, and rarely break lip without some 
quarrel. Weddings are particularly liable to these disorders, and at 
each of the three last that took place at and in the vicinity of Yerba 
Buena, previous to our visit there, a life was lost by the cuchillo. 
This weapon is always worn, and is promptly resorted to in all their 

The female portion of the community are ignorant, degraded, and 
the slaves of their husbands. They are very fond of dress, and will 
make any sacrifice, even their own honour, to gratify it. The men 
have no trades, and depend for every thing upon the Indians at the 
missions, some of whom are quite ingenious, both as carpenters and 
blacksmiths. The whites are so indolent, and withal have so much 
pride, as to make them look upon all manual labour as degrading ; 
in truth, they regard all those who work as beneath them ; the)', in 
consequence, can never be induced to labour. An anecdote was 
related to me of one who had been known to dispense with his 
dinner, although the food was but a few yards off, because the Indian 
was not at hand to bring it to him. 

The state of morals here is very low, and is every day becoming 


worse. During the residence of the old Spanish priests, the people 
were kept under some control ; hut since the change I have narrated, 
priest and layman are alike given up to idleness and debauchery. 
One thing they are said to be remarkable for, which is their ex- 
treme hospitality : it is alleged that they will give up all business to 
entertain a guest. They put no value whatever upon time, and in 
entering into contracts they have no regard to punctuality, frequently 
allowing two, three, and four years to pass by before payment. This 
does not proceed from dishonesty, or any intention to evade their 
debts, for eventually they pay, if they can, and do not object to the 
amount of interest. They in fact regard the inconvenience to which 
they may have put their creditors as of no sort of consequence. 

I understood that to offer money for entertainment was considered 
as an insult ; but I did it notwithstanding, and although it was refused 
from myself, yet, when made through my servant, it was readily ac- 
cepted. While one is entertained by them, if he should want to hire 
or purchase any thing, the landlord will league with those about him 
in schemes of extortion to be practised upon the stranger, and appear 
vexed with those who are the prominent extortioners. Instances of 
this will be given hereafter. 

The Californians, as a people, must be termed cruel in their treat- 
ment to their wives, as well as to the Indians ; and in a still greater 
degree, of course, to their slaves and cattle. They are exceedingly 
ignorant of every thing but extortion, riding horses, and catching- 

Having thus thrown together the general information I was able to 
procure, I shall proceed to speak more particularly of our operations 
in the country, and intercourse with the inhabitants. 

On the 20th of August, Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold left the 
Vincennes with six boats, accompanied by Dr. Pickering, Lieutenants 
Alden and Budd, Passed Midshipman Sandford, Midshipmen Ham- 
mersly and Elliott, and Gunner Williamson, with provisions for thirty 
days, accompanied by an Indian pilot. They first passed the islands 
of Angelos and Molate, next the points of San Pedro and San Pablo, 
and ihen entered the bay of San Pablo. 

This bay is of a form nearly circular, and ten miles in diameter ; 
many small streams enter it on all sides, from the neighbouring hills. 
On the east side of this bay, the river Sacramento empties into it 
through the Straits of Kaquines. The land is high, and the sand- 
stone rock on each side of the straits, resembles that seen about the 
Straits of De Fuca. The hills are thickly covered with wild oats, 


which were ripe, and the landscape had that peculiar golden hue 
before remarked. The contrast of this with the dark green foliage of 
the scattered oaks, heightens the effect, which, although peculiar, is 
not unpleasing to the sight. The trees all have an inclination towards 
the southeast, showing the prevalence and violence of the bleak north- 
west winds, producing on them a gnarled and mountain character. 
This feature is general throughout the coast of California, and gives 
the trees a singular appearance, the flat tops having the air of being 
cut or trimmed after the manner of box trees. The tops are bent 
to one side, and the larger branches hidden by the numerous twigs 
which compose the mass. The only place where a similar character 
was observed by us impressed upon the foliage, was at Terra del 

After passing the straits, the delta of the Sacramento opened to 
view. The Tula marshes, which are overflowed by the river above, 
are very extensive, and are said to be the resort of a vast number 
of beavers, which, in consequence of the nature of the ground, are 
difficult to catch, many more traps being necessary than in other 

The party took the southeast arm of the Sacramento, and proceeded 
up the stream for the distance of three miles, where they encamped, 
without water, that of the river being still brackish. The soil was 
hard, from being sunburnt, and the foot-marks of the cattle, which 
had been made during the last rainy season, still remained. 

In the morning, they discovered that they had taken the wrong 
branch of the river, for this led immediately into the San Joachim. 
They, in consequence, returned to the entrance, where they began 
their survey. On the 23d, they reached the residence of Captain 
Suter, and encamped on the opposite bank. 

Captain Suter is a Swiss by birth, and informed them that he had 
been a lieutenant in the Swiss guards during the time of Charles X. 
Soon after the revolution of July, he came to the United States, 
and passed several years in the state of Missouri. He has but 
recently removed to California, where he has obtained from the 
government a conditional grant of thirty leagues square, bounded by 
the Sacramento on the west, and extending as far up the river as the 
Prairie Butes. The spot he has chosen for the erection of his dwelling 
and fortification, he has called New Helvetia; it is situated on the 
summit of a small knoll, rising from the level prairie, two miles from 
the east bank of the Sacramento, and fifty miles from its mouth. New 

vol. v. 48 


Helvetia is bounded on the north by the American Fork, a small 
serpentine stream, which has a course of but a few miles. This 
river, having a bar near its mouth, no vessels larger than boats can 
enter it. At this place the Sacramento is eight hundred feet wide, 
and this may be termed the head of its navigation during the dry 
season, or the stage of low water. 

Mr. Geiger, a young American from Newport, is now attached to 
Captain Suter's establishment ; but he informed me that he intended 
to settle higher up the Sacramento, on the banks of the Feather river. 
When Captain Suter first settled here in 1839, he was surrounded 
by some of the most hostile tribes of Indians on the river ; but by his 
energy and management, with the aid of a small party of trappers, 
has thus far prevented opposition to his plans. He has even suc- 
ceeded in winning the good-will of the Indians, who are now labour- 
ing for him in building houses, and a line of wall, to protect him 
against the inroads or attacks that he apprehends, more from the 
present authorities of the land, than from the tribes about him, who 
are now working in his employ. He holds, by appointment of the 
government, the office of administrador, and has, according to his own 
belief, supreme power in his own district, condemning, acquitting, 
and punishing, as well as marrying and burying those who are under 
him. He treats the Indians very kindly, and pays them well for 
their services in trapping and working for him. His object is to 
attach them, as much as possible, to his interests, that in case of need 
he may rely upon their chiefs for assistance. 

Although Captain Suter is, in general, in the habit of treating the 
Indians with kindness, yet he related to our gentlemen instances in 
which he had been obliged to fusilade nine of them ; indeed, he does 
not seem to stand upon much ceremony with those who oppose him 
in any way. His buildings consist of extensive currals and dwelling- 
houses, for himself and people, all built of adobes. Labour is paid 
for in goods. The extent of his stock amounts to about one thousand 
horses, two thousand five hundred cattle, and about one thousand 
sheep, many of which are now to be seen around his premises, giving 
them an appearance of civilization. 

Captain Suter has commenced extensive operations in farming; but 
in the year of our visit the drought had affected him, as well as others, 
and ruined all his crops. About forty Indians were at work for him, 
whom he had taught to make adobes. The agreement for their 
services is usually made with their chiefs, and in this way, as many 


as are wanted are readily obtained. These chiefs have far more 
authority over their tribes than those we had seen to the north ; and 
in the opinion of an intelligent American, they have more power over 
and are more respected by their tribes than those of any other North 
American Indians. Connected with the establishment, Captain Suter 
has erected a distillery, in which he makes a kind of pisco from the 
wild grape of the country. 

The duties I have already named might be thought enough for the 
supervision of one person ; but to these must be added the direction 
of a large party of trappers and hunters, mostly American, who enter 
here into competition with those of the Hudson Bay Company; and 
attention to the property of the Russian establishment at Ross and 
Bodega, which had just been transferred to him for the consideration 
of thirty thousand dollars. In the purchase were included all the 
stock, houses, arms, utensils, and cattle, belonging to the establish- 
ment. It was understood that this post was abandoned, by orders 
of the Russian government, the Russian Company no longer having 
any necessity to hold it to procure supplies, as they are now to be 
furnished under a contract with the Hudson Bay Company; and by 
giving it up, they avoid many heavy expenses. 

Bodega was first established by the Russians in 1812, under a 
permission of the then governor of Monterey, to erect a few small 
huts for salting their beef. A small number of men were left to 
superintend this business, which in a few years increased, until 
the place became of such importance in the eyes of the Spanish 
authorities, that on the Russians attempting to establish themselves 
at San Francisco,* they were ordered to leave the country. This 
they refused to do, and having become too strong to be removed 
by the Spanish force, they had been suffered to remain undis- 
turbed until the time of our visit. 

The port of Bodega is situated about ninety miles to the north of 
that of San Francisco, and being both inconvenient and small, cannot 
be entered except by vessels of a small draft of water. From what I 
understood from the officers who had been in charge of it, it had been 
a very considerable expense to the Russian American Company to 
fortify it ; and the disposal of the whole, on almost any terms, must 

* On the island of Yerba Buena, and to employ their men in trapping during the 


have been advantageous. Captain Suter had commenced removing 
the stock and transporting the guns, &c, to his establishment. 

The buildings at the two posts numbered from fifty to sixty, and 
they frequently contained a population of four or five hundred souls. 
Since the breaking up of the establishment, the majority of the Rus- 
sians returned to Sitka ; the rest have remained in the employ of the 
present owner. 

During our stay, there was much apprehension on the part of some 
that the present governor of the district next west of New Helvetia, 
felt jealous of the power and influence that Captain Suter was 
obtaining in the country ; and it was thought that had it not been for 
the force which the latter could bring to oppose any attempt to dis- 
lodge him, it would have been tried. In the mean time Captain Suter 
is using all his energies to render himself impregnable. 

In his manners, Captain Suter is frank and prepossessing ; he has 
much intelligence, is conversant with several languages, and withal 
not a little enthusiastic : he generally wears a kind of undress uni- 
form, with his side-arms buckled around him. He has a wife and 
daughter whom he expects soon to join him. 

New Helvetia was found to be in latitude 38° 33' 45" N., and 
longitude 121° 40' 05" W. 

According to this gentleman, there are nine different tribes of 
Indians that are now in his neighbourhood, and within a short dis- 
tance of his territorjr. 

In the evening our party were favoured with a dance by Indian 
boys, who, before they began, ornamented themselves with white 
masks, and decked their bodies each according to his own taste. 
The music was vocal, and several joined in the song. Their motions 
were thought to resemble the Pawnees' mode of dancing. Their 
music was more in harmony than among the other tribes we had 
seen ; neither has their language any of the harsh guttural sounds 
found in those of the Oregon Indians. Every word of their lan- 
guage appears to terminate with a vowel, after the manner of the 
Polynesian dialects, which gives their voices much more softness 
than the tribes to the north, to whom they have no resemblance what- 
ever, though they are said to be somewhat like the Shoshones. 

They wear fillets around their heads of leaves, and often tie on 
them a piece of cotton, after the manner of the Polynesians. These 
Indians do not build canoes, although they admire and prize them 


highly ; they are excellent swimmers, and in consequence of it do 
not need them in their narrow streams ; they, however, make use of 
simple rafts, composed of one or two logs, generally split. 

The venereal disease is said to prevail to a great extent among 
them ; and whole tribes have been swept off by the small-pox. The 
former is said to have been communicated by the Indians who have 
been discharged from the mission. All agree that the Indians have 
been very unjustly treated by the governor. Cattle that had been 
given to them by the padres of the mission when they left it, have 
been taken away from them by this functionary, and added to his 
own stock — whence a saying has been derived, that the governor's 
cows produce three times a year. The Spanish laws do not recog- 
nise the Indian title to lands, but consider them and the Indians also 
in the light of public property. 

Although the country around was parched up with the severe 
drought that had prevailed, yet the short grasses were abundant, 
and it was more completely covered with vegetation than that below. 
Scattered oaks are seen in all directions, some of which are of large 
dimensions, — five or six feet in diameter, and sixty or seventy feet 

The scenery was very much admired, and Mount Diavolo, near 
the mouth of the San Joachim, adds to its beauty. The mountains 
to the east are visible from Captain Suter's settlement, and it is said 
that during some portions of the year they are covered with snow. 
A route across them was followed, directly east of this place, by a 
party, but they were twenty days in getting over, and found the 
country so thickly wooded that they were obliged to cut their way. 
The pass which is recommended as better, is two hundred miles to 
the north of this place, through the gap made by the head waters 
of the Sacramento. This has led to the belief that Pitt's river ex- 
tends in this direction through and beyond them. 

The best route to the United States is to follow the San Joachim 
for sixty miles, thence easterly, through a gap in the Snowy Moun- 
tains, by a good beaten road ; thence the course is northeasterly to 
Mary's river, which flows southeast and has no outlet, but loses 
itself in a lake ; thence continuing in the same direction, the Port- 
neuf river, in the Upper Shoshone, is reached ; and thence to Fort 
Hall. According to Dr. Marsh, (an American of much intelligence, 
resident at the mouth of the San Joachim, to whom we are indebted 

vol. v. 49 


for much information of the country,) there is plenty of fresh water 
and pasturage all the way, and no proper desert between the Cali- 
fornian Range and the Colorado. 

Dr. Marsh crossed nothing' like a range of mountains in the whole 
route from the United States. Hills and mountains were often seen 
on what he calls the table-land of New Mexico. The most common 
plant met with was an acacia, a small shrub which is also to be found 
in the southern parts of New Mexico, where the climate is likewise 
very arid. In one district where it occurs, it is found necessary to 
protect both horse and rider with a sort of armour against this rigid 
and thorny vegetation, between latitude 37° and 38° N. 

He also reports that there are other streams to the east of the 
mountains without outlets, and which do not reach the Colorado, 
although running in that direction. He identifies the Youta, or great 
Salt Lake, with the Lake Timponogos of the early Spanish fathers 
who visited it, and agrees with others in placing the north end of it 
nearly in the parallel of 42°. 

The Colorado he reports to be impracticable for boats to descend 
from the head waters to its mouth, on account of its rapidity. There 
is one place in it that is described as similar to the Dalles of the 
Columbia, which is supposed to be where it passes through the range 
of mountains. 

The banks of the river are bordered with marshes, which extend 
for miles back. This kind of country continues up both the Sacra- 
mento and San Joachim, and is the proper Tula district of which so 
much has been said, and so many errors propagated. Here the tula 
(Scirpus lacustris) grows in great luxuriance. 

On the 25th, the boats left New Helvetia. It was discovered, pre- 
vious to starting, that four men had deserted from their party. This 
is a common circumstance in this port, and very few vessels visit it 
without losing some portion of their crews. The dissolute habits 
of the people form such strong temptations for sailors, that few can 
resist them. A number of men who were deserters were continu- 
ally around us. Among others, the sergeant and marine guard that 
had deserted from H. B. M. ship Sulphur were the most troublesome. 
Their appearance did not prove that they had changed their situation 
for the better. 

Ten miles up the river, a sand-bar occurred, over which it was 
found that the launch could not pass. Lieutenant-Commandant 


Ringgold therefore left her at this place, under charge of Mr. 
Williams, taking sufficient provisions in the boats. The oaks became 
more scattered, and the soil thickly covered with vegetation, although 
parched up by continued drought. 

On the 26th, they reached the mouth of Feather river, which 
is fifteen miles above New Helvetia. It appeared nearly as broad 
as the main stream, but there is a bar extending the whole distance 
across it, on which the boats grounded. On the point of the fork, the 
ground was strewed with the skulls and bones of an Indian tribe, all 
of whom -are said to have died, within a few years, of the tertian 
fever, and to have nearly become extinct in consequence. Near 
this, had been an Indian village, which was destroyed by Captain 
Suter and his trappers, because its inhabitants had stolen cattle, 
&c. The affair resulted in one of the Indians being killed, twenty- 
seven made captive, and the removal of the remainder beyond the 
limits of his territory. The battle-ground was pointed out, at a bend 
of the river, which is only one-third of a mile across, though three 
around. Above the junction of the two rivers, the Sacramento 
becomes sensibly diminished. 

Game is represented to have decreased in this vicinity, from the 
numbers destroyed by the parties of the Hudson Bay Company, who 
annually frequent these grounds. Large flocks of curlew were seen 
around ; and the California quail, which disappeared since leaving the 
coast, was again seen. The trees that line the banks consist of the 
cotton-wood, &c. Single oaks, with short grass beneath them, are 
scattered over the plain. 

The next day, as they advanced, game became more plentiful, and 
elk were found to be most so. Some of them were of large size, and 
at this season of the year, the rutting, they are seen generally in 
pairs ; but at other times, the females are in large herds. They are 
fine-looking animals, with very large antlers, and seemed, in the first 
instance, devoid of fear. The herds are usually thirty to forty in 
number, and are chiefly composed of females and their young. The 
father of the flock is always conspicuous, and with his horns seemed 
to overshadow and protect the family. 

The tula or bulrush was still found in great quantities, growing 
on the banks. The Indians use its roots as food, either raw, or 
mixed with the grass seed, which forms the principal article of their 
food. This root is likewise eaten by the grisly bear. 


At the encamping-place was a grove of poplars of large size, some 
of which were seventy feet high, and two and a half feet in diameter. 
The leaf resembled that of the American aspen. At night they had 
a slight thunder-shower. The wolves and bears had entered the 
camp during the night, although there was a watch kept at each end 
of it. The howling of the wolves was almost constant. 

On the 27th, the current in the Sacramento had become much 
more rapid, and the snags more frequent ; its banks were on an 
average about twenty feet above the water, though there was every 
appearance on them of their having been overflowed. The prairies 
are perfectly level, and every where overspread with dead shells of 
the planorbis. In some places these shells appeared as though they 
had been collected in heaps. From the top of these banks, the 
Prairie Butes were in sight to the northward and westward. 

As they proceeded up the river, the country continued of the same 
character, the level being only interrupted by the line of trees that 
borders the river. These consist of oaks and sycamores. 

They encamped at a late hour, on a spot where the prairie had 
been burnt over, and were much disturbed during the night, by the 
bears, wolves, and owls. Near this camp was a deserted village. 

On the 29th, they for the first time met Indians, who appeared 
quite shy, concealing themselves behind trees. As they increased in 
numbers, however, they became more confident, and invited the party 
to land. Towards noon the character of the country began to change, 
and trees of a larger size than before, were seen, growing out from the 
banks. A little after noon, they met with the remains of a fish-weir. 
Some Indians were seen along the banks, armed with bows, arrows, 
and lances : none but males appeared ; they, however, made no hostile 

Game, and fur-bearing animals,_had become more numerous, and 
among them were the lynx and fox. The latter is of the species 
(Vulpes ceneres argentum) whose fur brings a high price in China, 
where as much as twenty dollars is paid for a skin. This fox is said 
to have one peculiarity, namely, that when chased it will ascend 
trees. Bears were also in great numbers. It is reported that they 
will sometimes attack and eat the Indians. 

Dr. Marsh thinks there is but one species, the grisly bear ; but 
the black bear of the United States is found in New Mexico, and 
highly prized for its skin ; though Dr. Pickering thinks he saw an- 


other species, whose summer coat approaches the yellow bear of 
Oregon. The skin of the young is here sometimes made into quivers, 
and they are destitute of the horny claws of the grisly bear. The 
skin of the latter animal is said sometimes to be as large as that of an 
ox ; its food is the same as that of the Indians, and varies with the 
seasons. Its strength is said to be prodigiously great, and it has 
been known when lassoed to drag three horses ; and when baited in 
the bull and bear fights practised in California, will check the charge 
of a bull by putting out one of its paws. 

They will also ascend the oaks for the acorns, and break off 
branches so large as almost to ruin the tree. It has been generally 
supposed that they do not climb ; but all the hunters bear testimony 
that they can do it, although slowly and clumsily. They are now 
less numerous than formerly ; indeed, it is alleged that the lower 
country, near the San Joachim, was once so infested with these 
bears, that the Indians were obliged to keep to the high lands when 

It does not at all times kill its enemies when it has them in its 
power ; rarely attacks a man unless he comes upon him by surprise, 
and is not considered a dangerous animal. 

Anecdotes are told of hunters who had fallen into the power of 
grisly bears, which would cover them up with brush, grass, and 
leaves, and put them down, without further molestation, so long as 
they remained quiet ; if they attempted to rise again, the bear would 
again put them down, cover them over as before, and finally leave 
them unhurt. 

Three or four are visually seen feeding together. The cubs are 
remarkably small in proportion to the full-grown animal. 

Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold, Dr. Pickering, and Mr. Gei^er, 
landed to procure an interview with the chief, who, with some others, 
was prevailed upon to accompany them to their encampment. The 
chief presented them with a tuft of white feathers, stuck on a stick 
about one foot long, which was supposed to be a token of friendship. 
These Indians were naked, and some of them had feathers in their 
hair, arranged in different ways. One among them was seen pitted 
with the small-pox, which was the only instance that had been 
observed of the sort. Their fillets of feathers somewhat resembled 
those worn by the chiefs at the Sandwich Islands; and feather cloaks 
were seen at the village, resembling some we had seen to the north, 
near the Straits of De Fuca. 

VOL. V. 50 


Their bows and arrows were precisely like those described as used 
by the more northern tribes. The arrows were about three feet long, 
and the bows were of yew, encased with sinew. Their arrows, as 
well as their spears, which were very short, were pointed with flint. 

These Indians were generally fine robust men, of low stature, and 
badly formed; but the chiefs, five or six in number, were fully equal 
in size to the whites, though inferior in stature and good-looking as 
compared with the generality of the Polynesians. They had a strong 
resemblance to the latter, except that the nose was not so flat and 
their colour rather darker. Although the men go naked, the women 
are said to wear the maro. The males seemed to be exceedingly 
jealous, on account, it is said, of the unprincipled conduct of the 
whites who have occasionally passed among them. Their hair is not 
worn as long as it is by the northern Indians, and is much thicker. 
They had beards and whiskers an inch or two long, very soft and 

One of them was observed to have stuck in his head a long pin or 
small stick, like that so much in use among the Feejees. Most of 
them had some slight marks of tattooing on their breast, somewhat 
similar to that of the Chinooks. Several of them had their ears 
bored, and wore in the opening round pieces of wood or bone, some 
of which were carved. 

Their rancheria, or village, consisted of no more than five or six 
huts, built around a larger one, which appeared somewhat like the 
" tamascals" — sweating-houses. All their houses were formed in the 
following manner : a round pit is dug, three or four feet deep and 
from ten to twenty feet in diameter ; over this a framework of sticks 
is raised, woven together, upon which is laid dried grass and reeds; 
the whole is then covered with earth. They have one small opening, 
into which it is necessary to creep on all-fours ; another is left on the 
top, which is extended upwards with bundles of grass, to serve as a 
chimney ; in some of the houses there was a kind of hanging-shelf, 
apparently for the purpose of drying fish. The tamascal differed 
in no respect from the others, except in its size, and appeared suffi- 
ciently large to contain half the inhabitants of the rancheria ; but, 
unlike the rest, it had several instead of one opening ; all of these had 
coverings, which are intended for the purpose of retaining the heat as 
long as possible. The Indians are particularly fond of these baths, 
and make constant use of them. The roofs of their houses are strong 
enough to bear the weight of several persons, and the Indians are 


usually seen sitting on the top of them. Previous to our gentlemen 
reaching the rancheria, their women had all decamped, excepting one 
old one, who, on perceiving the party close to her, dropped her load, 
and in excessive fear darted off like a wild animal. Around the huts 
were scattered vast quantities of the shells of unios and acorns, which 
would therefore seem to be the principal articles of food. Near the 
huts, large branches of trees had been stuck up for shade. Some 
water-tight baskets and bulrush mats were their only fabrics. They 
do not appear to pay any attention to cultivation, and the only appear- 
ance of it was in a species of Cucurbita (mock orange,) planted near 
their village ; but what use they made of this was not learned. 

This rancheria is said to contain between two and three hundred 
warriors, who are a fair specimen of the tribes of the country, and 
are the most troublesome to the trappers, with whom they gene- 
rally have a fight once a year. On one occasion, the Hudson Bay 
Company left their cattle in their charge, and when the delivery 
was demanded they refused to give them up ; war was accordingly 
made on them, and after they had lost forty of their warriors, they 
consented to return the cattle and make peace. These Indians do 
not use the tomahawk, nor practise scalping. They go unclothed, 
even in winter, although the climate is occasionally quite cold in this 
northern part of the valley. 

On the morning when the party were breaking up camp to embark, 
an Indian boldly seized the bowie-knife-pistol of Dr. Pickering, and 
made at once for the woods. He had chosen his time well, for no 
arms were at hand. Several of the men pursued him, but by his 
alertness he eluded all pursuit ; and having gained the bushes, 
escaped with his prize. 

This act, committed in open daylight, and at the risk of life, 
shows how strong is their propensity to steal. All the other Indians 
present soon understood the difficulty, and at once took their de- 
parture. The chief was not present ; those who were concerned in 
the theft had not been before seen, and it was conjectured belonged 
to one of the rancherias higher up the river. A short distance above 
the place where this occurred, they met the chief, to whom the theft 
was made known, and who promised to restore the stolen article. 

At noon they passed the Prairie Butes, which are a collection of 
isolated hills, rising from the level plain, as if out of the sea. As 
they were visited by the party that passed through from Oregon, I 
shall give a particular account of them in the narrative of that 


journey. They formed one of the connecting links between the 
operations of the two parties, and served to verify their respective 
observations. Indians were seen on the west bank of the river, with 
a number of women in company, who seemed well disposed to enter 
into communication, as they motioned the party to land. 

In the afternoon, they encamped on the west bank, at a considerable 
distance above the Butes. The river was here only two hundred feet 
wide, and its banks but fifteen feet high. The trees on the shores 
had now become quite thick, and grew with great luxuriance ; so 
much so, that were the sight confined to the river banks, it might 
be supposed that the country was one continued forest, instead of 
an open prairie. 

The Indians who visited them at this camp, were less timid, and a 
much finer-looking set of men than those before seen. They allowed 
the officers and men to examine their bows and arrows, and appeared 
to have confidence in our good feeling towards them. The old chief 
welcomed the party, granted them permission to encamp on the 
bank, and then departing with all his tribe, nothing more was seen of 
him until late the next morning. 

On the 31st, they again proceeded, and passed several Indian vil- 
lages. Before noon, they arrived at a substantially built fish-weir, of 
which the Indians began to take a part down, but Lieutenant-Com- 
mandant Ringgold deeming that this was the termination of his 
exploration, motioned to them to desist. This fish-weir was con- 
structed with a great deal of art : stakes, pointing down the stream, 
had been driven into its bed, having three openings, which led into 
square pens above ; over each of the entrances into the pens was a 
platform, on which the natives stand to take the fish ; on these also 
there were heaps of ashes, indicating that the natives make use of fire 
to attract the fish. The annexed wood-cut is a representation of the 


vrfis^A/Wvxi^ "£^is/\nm_wvv\aJ ^w*^>/\n/*in/saa^* AA/v^a/\a/.j\aA^~'~~^. % 



The river was examined for two or three miles above, and found to 
be filled with rapids, and innumerable difficulties caused by snags 


and sand-bars. Here Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold ascertained 
his position to be in latitude 39° 13' 39" N., longitude 122° 12' 17" 
W.; which, joined to the work of the land party, gives the exploration 
of the whole extent of the Sacramento river, from its source to the 
sea, a distance of two hundred miles. The first fork, or the junction 
of Pitt's with that of Destruction river or creek, is in latitude 40° 47' 
N., longitude 122° 34' W. 

The Indians of this tribe, the Kinkla, were disposed to be much 
more friendly than those met with during the two preceding days. 
The party had some intercourse with them, and many of the women 
were seen, some of whom wore the peculiar Polynesian dress, called 
the maro, which in this case was made of strings from the California!! 
flax, which is common in this part of the country. Where this 
cannot be procured, they use the tula (Scirpus lacustris). This 
garment hangs in considerable thickness both before and behind, but 
is open at the sides. 

Of these Indians it is reported that no one has more than one wife. 
Their village was similar to that already described. The women 
were not very prepossessing in their appearance, although the younger 
ones had pleasing faces and fine forms; but the men were large and 
stout, and would be termed finely formed. The women were em- 
ployed in drying grass-seed and acorns in the sun, of which the latter 
seemed to be the principal part of their food. These Indians had 
small fishing-nets, somewhat resembling in size and shape a lady's 
reticule. These they made use of when diving for mussels, and in a 
short time procured half a bushel of them. They had also larger 
nets, which very much resemble our own ; but on close examination, 
the manner of forming strands of the cordage was found to be 

Their language is soft compared to that of the northern Indians, 
and as much so as that of the Polynesians. In but a few cases was 
the guttural sound of tch observed ; and the repetition of syllables is 
frequent, as "wai-wai," and " hau-hau-hau." Lieutenant-Comman- 
dant Ringgold obtained a small vocabulary of the language from a 
chief, and Captain Suter furnished much information respecting it. 
According to him, although there are many tribes, yet they speak no 
more than two distinct languages, one of which prevails on the east 
and the other on the west side of the Sacramento. This information, 
however, was contradicted by other authorities ; but as this subject 

VOL. V. 51 


belongs to the report on philology, I must refer the reader to Mr. 
Hale's book on that subject for further information. 

According to the best authorities, these Indians, so far from being 
cannibals, will not eat any kind of animals that eat man. They 
carry burdens in the same manner as the northern tribes, with a 
strap round the forehead. They live upon various plants, in their 
several seasons, besides grapes, and even use the Artemisia. A species 
of tobacco is found on the sandy beaches, which the Indians prepare 
and smoke. 

The vegetation throughout the whole course of the Sacramento 
showed evident traces of salt, and in some places the prairies seemed 
to be incrusted with it. 

At the place where the survey ended, the river was two hundred 
feet wide, its banks being twenty feet above the river; but it was 
evident that its perpendicular rise exceeded this, as there was every 
appearance of its overflowing them ; and, according to the testimony 
of the Indians, the whole country was annually inundated. 

Their bows and arrows were carefully made, and the latter were 
kept in quivers made of fox-skins, young bears, &c. In each of these 
they had about forty arrows, pointed with flint and neatly made. 

On the afternoon of the 31st of August, the party turned to go down 
the stream, and with the aid of the current made rapid progress. 
Towards sunset they entered the small stream called Bute, on whose 
banks they encamped. Here they were much disturbed, both with 
bears and musquitoes. 

On the 1st of September, they made an early start, and about noon 
reached the village where the theft of Dr. Pickering's pistol had been 

It was with some difficulty that the Indians were persuaded to 
approach ; but a fine-looking sav.age, more bold than the rest, at last 
ventured to do so, and gave the information that the Indian who had 
committed the theft, resided at the village up stream. 

The weapon therefore not being forthcoming, Lieutenant-Comman- 
dant Ringgold determined to seize this man as a hostage for the return 
of the article. He was accordingly secured, his arms pinioned behind 
him, and led down to the boat, when two men were ordered to tie his 
legs; while they were in the act of doing this, he extricated himself, 
and jumped overboard. The guns were at once levelled, and half a 
dozen triggers ready to be pulled ; but Lieutenant-Commandant Ring- 


gold very properly stopped them from firing, and endeavours were 
made to recapture him, but without effect. These efforts having 
failed, they took to their boats, and pulled down the stream. The 
Indians who were on the banks, to the number of two hundred and 
fifty, made no demonstrations of hostility. 

Platforms similar to those erected by the Indians for spearing 
salmon, were passed along the river banks. 

Having stopped at the same camp at the Poplar. Grove, as on the 
28th, they took a few hours' amusement in hunting. Each person 
who went out returned with an elk or a buck as a prize, with large 
antlers. According to the hunters, the elk obtains an additional 
prong every year ; and one of those killed had sixteen. The antlers 
are shed every year, and only acquire hardness at the rutting season, 
when the velvet is rubbed off. The usual length of their life is from 
eight to ten years. 

On the 3d, they continued the survey, until they were below 
Feather river, when the provisions were so nearly exhausted that 
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold found that it would be impossible 
for him to examine that stream. The residents and trappers informed 
me that they had followed it to its source. From them I learned that 
it takes its rise in the Californian Range, from which it pursues a 
southwest course, until it falls into the Sacramento river. It is about 
forty miles in length. It is believed that the Spaniards, when they 
first explored this country, designated the Feather river as the 
Sacramento, and gave to the true Sacramento the name of the Jesu 
Maria. In no other way, at least, can the error which has occurred, 
in relation to the existence of the Jesu Maria, be explained ; and on 
this supposition, the accounts of it become intelligible. 

In the neighbourhood of the Sacramento, there are sometimes to 
be found small lakes or bayous, which seem to be filled at high water, 
but become stagnant during the dry season. These the elk and deer 
frequent in large numbers. Their cry or whistle is at times very 
shrill, and may be heard for a great distance. 

At the junction of the Feather river with the Sacramento, the latter 
increases in width to nearly double. It was found just below the 
junction to be from twelve to fifteen hundred feet broad, forming a 
sort of bay, but it soon again contracts. They encamped about ten 
miles below the confluence of these streams. 

Whilst the men were employed in pitching the tents, Dr. Pickering 


strolled up the bank, to see what he could find in the botanical way, 
without arms. On his approaching the bushes, a huge grisly bear 
made for him, and so close was he that it was necessary for him to 
make all the exertion he could to effect his escape from so dangerous 
an adversary. He gave the alarm, and every one was running for 
his arms; but before these could be prepared, this inhabitant of the 
forest made a precipitate retreat, and was soon beyond the reach of 
the rifle. 

On the 4th, they had returned to Captain Suter, where they found 
that a small Russian schooner had arrived from Bodega, bringing the 
governor of that establishment, who was about delivering it up to 
Captain Suter. The vessel was understood to have been built at 
Sitka, and was of only thirty tons burden, very much resembling an 
English vessel of the same class. 

For a boat they use a skin " badaka," that is admirably adapted for 
the seas and weather they have to contend with. When the persons 
are seated, and the opening closed, with a skin dress they more 
resemble an aquatic animal than any thing else. 

The morning after their arrival, Captain Suter paid his men their 
weekly wages, in cloths, calicoes, vests, shirts, and pantaloons. The 
whole was arranged through their chief, who spoke a little Spanish. 
The labourers are obtained from the different rancherias, and some 
from the vicinity of the mountains. It was observed that the larger 
portion of the labourers were young men and boys ; no women were 
employed, and as yet their services are not needed; but it is the Cap- 
tain's intention, as he informed our gentlemen, to have employment 
for them in a year or two. 

Several Americans from the United States are beginning to settle 
in this part of the country, and it will not be long before it becomes, 
in some respects, an American colony. 

Although it was late in the season, a few salmon were caught at 
the fishery ; they were not to be distinguished from the Columbia 
species of the first run. 

The Indians have several rancherias around New Helvetia. Their 
lodges are all somewhat like low haycocks, being composed of a 
framework of sticks, thatched with the bulrush. In these there 
was no excavation, neither were they covered with earth : these 
dwellings were at the time deserted by the Indians, who were found 
encamped about half a mile nearer the river, with but a few boughs 



and mats to shelter them. The latter are manufactured after the 
manner that has been described as used by the Indians of Oregon. 

At the rancheria, the men are generally found engaged in various 
games of chance, similar to those before described ; it is not believed, 
however, that they carry their gambling propensities to such an 
extent as to stake their liberty. On the women, all the drudgery 
seems to be thrown. They were seen engaged in weaving water- 
tight baskets : these are very neatly made, of sufficient capacity to 
hold a bushel, and in these it is said they contrive to boil water and 
cook their food. 

In the preparation of the acorn-bread all assist. The acorns are 
gathered in very large quantities, piled in heaps, and spread in the 
sun to dry. Both men and women are to be seen employed shelling, 
pounding, and baking them into bread : the pounding is performed 
upon a plank that has been hollowed out, with a stone pestle. To 
reduce the large quantity to a fine powder, requires great labour. 
This employment presents a busy scene, though the want of cleanli- 
ness, I may almost say pig-like filthiness with which it is performed, 
excites disgust. 


,« i it- 


' -Is 


Around New Helvetia, although but a few days had elapsed since 
their former visit, the country, if possible, appeared more arid ; it by 
no means justified the high encomiums that we had heard bestowed 
upon this far-famed valley. Our expectations probably had been so 
much raised as scarcely to allow us to give it that credit it really 

The valley of the Sacramento may include a space of one hundred 
vol. v. 52 


and eighty miles long, by from twenty to fifty miles wide. A large 
part of this is undoubtedly barren and unproductive, and must for 
ever remain so. The part that is deemed good soil, is under water 
annually, not for any great length of time, yet sufficiently long to 
make it unfit for advantageous settlement. The high prairie is 
spoken of as being in general barren, and as affording but little good 

The crops are usually ripe in June, which enables the wheat and 
Indian corn to be gathered before the summer drought begins. There 
is usually a rainy season of three months, but during the year of our 
visit no rain had fallen ; and from every crop having failed, the in- 
habitants had been living upon their cattle. The cattle suffered 
almost as much as the crops, and large numbers of them died 
from starvation. On this account, the inhabitants had forborne to 
kill their cattle for hides, believing it to be a great loss to do so, as 
the weight was so much depreciated as to pay little more than the 
labour of slaughter and preparing for market. 

The variety of game in this country almost exceeds belief. The 
elk may be said to predominate, but there are also many bears, black- 
tailed deer, wolves, foxes, minks, hares, musk-rats, badgers, antelopes, 
and ovis montana. The wolf is reported by Dr. Marsh to be the 
same as the prairie-wolf of the Upper Mississippi, but not the one 
described by Say. Mr. Peale in his report will probably assimi- 
late it to the small one of Oregon, with large ears. The fox is the 
same as the gray one of the wooded parts of the United States. 
According to Mr. Peale, the black-tailed deer is the only species 
found in this country. The ovis montana has been frequently seen 
by Dr. Marsh ; its coating is altogether hair, without any admixture 
of wool. No specimens were obtained for the Expedition. 

The badger was seen by Dr. Pickering, who attempted to capture 
one; he found no difficulty in following it, as its movements were 
not very rapid. After passing over some hills, it made a stand; and 
as he approached, bristled up, but made no other threatening demon- 
stration, and retreated backwards to its burrow. On his feigning a 
retreat, it came again forth and exposed itself to be fired at. Dr. 
Pickering wounded it; but not so much as to prevent its reaching 
its burrow, and so it escaped. He was satisfied by its movements, 
that its curiosity was the cause that led it to risk destruction. 
This seems to be the great and all-powerful instinctive passion of 
these wild animals, and frequently retains them within reach of the 


deadly rifle. Considering the quantity of game, the success attendant 
on our tyro hunters was not equal to their anticipations, and convinced 
them that it is much easier to bring down an elk in anticipation than 
in reality. The accidents were few, and only one annoyance was 
experienced, in the chase of a skunk, which obliged the officer to part 
with his clothes. The wild-fowl scarcely claimed attention, the elk 
and large animals being so abundant. The flesh of the elk was much 
preferred by the party to that of the deer. 

On the 6th, the survey being finished down to this point, they 
descended the river, on their return to the ship. On the 8th, they 
had arrived at the mouth of the river, and the Straits of Kaquines. 
On the 9th, at midnight, they reached the Vincennes, after an 
absence of twenty days. Subsequent to this date, on the 20th, 
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold proceeded again, with six boats, 
to examine the bay of San Pablo, and the streams that flow into it, 
and also up the San Joachim, until it branched off to the southward 
and eastward. This party returned to the ship on the 29th. 

Whilst the Vincennes was at Sausalito, the officers made visits to 
the different places around, and received many persons on board, 
priests as well as laymen ; and as their estancias or mission-houses 
were far removed, they became guests for a longer time than was 
agreeable to most of the officers. A Californian needs no pressing to 
stay, as long as he is pleased with the place ; and that he should be 
so, it is not necessary to furnish him with luxuries : he is content 
with coarse fare, provided he can get enough of strong drink to 
minister to his thirst. I have already spoken of the great consump- 
tion of spirits that is said to take place in this country ; and from the 
experience we had of it, the accounts certainly are not exaggerated. 
The palm for intemperance was, I think, generally given to the 
padres, some of whom, notwithstanding their clerical robes, did 
ample justice to every drinkable offered them ; and so well were 
they pleased, that some of them made a visit of three days' duration, 
and were even then disinclined to leave. It is not to be denied that 
they left the same impression of their characters on board that it has 
been heretofore said they bear on shore. The officers all seemed dis- 
posed to draw a veil over the conduct to which they were witnesses, 
and I will not be the one to raise it, as it can be of little benefit, and 
might perhaps be applicable to only a few of the order. 

Our intercourse with Senor Martinez and his family was much 
more agreeable. Of them, Captain Beechey has given a delightful 
account. Martinez has now retired to an estancia, where he is living 


in what is, in this country, affluence. His wife and himself have 
grown older, but still retain the character drawn of them by Captain 
Beechey. Near Pinole, Senor Martinez has a large house, but rnea- 
gerly furnished, where he is surrounded by his large family of 
children and grandchildren. His wife is the same managing body, 
and keeps a strict eye upon her younger daughters, who are all good- 

The Californians are always inclined for amusement, and dancing 
is their favourite pastime, so that where a family is large, they seldom 
fail to pass off the evening pleasantly for their guests. Quadrilles 
and Spanish dances are the fashion ; and the desire to please is as 
strongly exhibited in this family as it was during the visit of Captain 
Beechey. After dancing until a late hour, supper was provided, 
when the guests were either ^accommodated for the night, or set out 
to return to their homes, which, if they be unable to reach, they 
pass the night in the open air, using their ponchos and saddle-cloths 
for covering. During the nights there is but little wind, and the 
atmosphere is generally so dry and clear, that a person may, with 
impunity, sleep in the open air. 

Three of the daughters and two of the sons of Senor Martinez are 
married ; one of the former to Don Vitro Castro, and another to the 
captain of the port, an Englishman by the name of Richai-dsoti, who 
lives at Sausalito, and who supplies vessels with provisions. He was 
very attentive and obliging in furnishing the ship with supplies, and 
affording us the means of baking bread for the daily supply of the ship. 

Captain Richardson has an estancia, bordering on Sausalito Bay, 
prettily situated under the hill, with sufficient fertile land for his 
gardens, or rather fields, where his vegetables are raised. His house 
is small, consisting of only two rooms, and within a few rods of it all 
the cattle are slaughtered, which- affords a sight and smell that are 
not the most agreeable. A collection of leg-bones, hoofs, horns, and 
hides, lay about in confusion, for which numerous dogs were fighting. 
It was with great difficulty that these animals could be made to 
cease their strife ; and what with this and the barking kept up by 
others, both without and within doors, there was such a clamour 
raised as required all the household, consisting of husband, wife, 
daughter, and slave, to quiet. Captain Richardson's establishment is 
a fair representation of the manner of living in California, and articles 
which are condemned elsewhere are acceptable here. However small 
the apartment may be, it is but sparingly furnished, and with no view 
of comfort, in our sense of the word ; cleanliness, the great promoter 


of it, is wanting, and the indolence of the people seems an insu- 
perable bar to it. Senora Richardson shows the marks of former 
beauty, which her daughter has inherited, and is said to be the hand- 
somest woman in all California. I had the honour of seeing them 
when I returned Captain Richardson's call, and they were, in the 
Spanish style of beauty, quite deserving of the reputation they had 

Captain Richardson did what he could to afford amusement for the 
officers, and during the visit of Senor Martinez to the ship, an invi- 
tation to a dance was accepted by some of them. Although the 
house was small, yet they made out to pass the evening with great 
hilarity, Senor Martinez dancing with two of his grand-daughters — 
one on each arm. The group of musicians it was thought might 
have sat for the portraits of Roman soldiers. The evening's enter- 
tainment passed off well, the dancing having continued the greater 
part of the night. The Californians must be ranked next to the Chi- 
lenos for their love of this amusement. The refreshment consisted 
principally of strong drinks. Senor Martinez is looked upon as one of 
the aristocrats of the country. Much deference is paid to his opinion, 
and an alliance with his family is much sought after. The old lady 
exercises a matronly care over her daughters, and has them ever under 
her watchful eye. Captain Richardson's daughter, though only 
seventeen, is so famed for her beauty and attractions, that she has 
several avowed suitors. Courtships are here conducted somewhat in 
an old-fashioned manner. The suitor is obliged to avow himself and 
receive permission to visit. All who visit the estancia near Pinole 
will meet with that warm reception and kind treatment that Senor 
Martinez, his lady, and family, are so remarkable for. 

On the opposite side of the bay of San Pablo, or to the west, are 
some of the finest tracts of country in California. One of these is 
called the Valley of Nappa, another that of Zonoma, and a third, San 
Rafael. In Zonoma is situated the town of the same name, the 
residence of General Vallejo, and the mission of San Rafael. The 
fertile country extends across to Ross and Bodega, the two Russian 
settlements before spoken of. Zonoma is the seat of government, and 
is situated in an extensive plain, with some high hills for its southern 
boundary. The plain is covered with fine oaks, and there is a never- 
failing stream of water passing through it. There is besides an 
inlet from the bay, which allows a boat navigation to it of about 
twelve miles. 

vol. v. 53 


Upon paper, Zonoma is a large city, and laid out according to the 
most approved plan. In reality, however, it consists of only the follow- 
ing buildings : General Vallejo's house, built of adobes, of two stories, 
which fronts on the public square, and is said to be one of the best 
houses in California. On the right of this is the residence of the 
general's brother, Salvadore, and to the left, the barracks for the 
accommodation of the guard for the general, consisting of about 
twenty fusileers. Not far removed is the old dilapidated mission- 
house of San Francisco Solano, scarcely tenantable, though a small 
part of it is inhabited still by the Padre Kihas, who continues, not- 
withstanding the poverty of his mission, to entertain the stranger, and 
show him all the hospitality he can. 

Besides the buildings just enumerated, there were in the course of 
construction, in 1841, a neat little chapel, and a small building for a 
billiard-room. There are also three or four more houses and huts 
which are tenanted ; and at some future day may boast of some farther 

General Vallejo was one of those who figured in the revolution of 
1836, and was then appointed Commandant-General of Alta-Cali- 
fornia. He is now the owner of large estates ; and having chosen this 
part of the country for his residence, he is free from the opposition 
and broils that are continually growing out of the petty concerns of 
the custom-house and its duties. He is not over-scrupulous in 
demanding duties of the vessels entering the port of San Francisco ; 
and until he has been seen and consulted, a vessel trading here is 
liable to an indefinite amount of duties. A portion of the payment 
adds to his wealth, and how much goes to the government is not 
known ; enough, I was told, in some cases, to save appearances, and 
no more. The foreigners who trade here are very attentive to him ; 
and it might be supposed, before' making inquiry into the cause, that 
he is a great favourite with them. The highest official protection is 
necessary for all those who wish to prosper in their trade to this port, 
and to prevent exactions from subordinates. 

I have already spoken of the unceremonious manner in which Cap- 
tain Suter officiated as administrador of the district to the east of the 
Sacramento. The anecdotes related to me of Vallejo, in like manner, 
show a striking disregard for the lives, as well as for the property and 
liberty of the Indians and gente de razon. He is supreme, and acts 
with the same impunity as all his predecessors, with one or two 
exceptions, have done before him. As an instance of the lawless 


acts of the governors, it is said that one of them entertained the idea 
of training the Indians as soldiers, and a company of them had 
been brought together, drilled, and made such proficiency in the use 
of their arms, that his excellency became alarmed, and forthwith 
ordered them all to be shot ! I have little doubt that this story 
may be essentially true, for the value of an Indian's life in the eye 
of the rulers scarcely exceeds that of one of the wild cattle. The 
commandant-general is frequently said to hunt them, and by his 
prowess in these expeditions, he has gained some reputation. Sal- 
vadore Vallejo is engaged in agricultural pursuits, and particularly 
in raising cattle, which, under the governor, he has the especial 
privilege of supplying to vessels, which he does at prices that insure 
a handsome profit. In times of scarcity, vessels are sure to be sup- 
plied by applying to the governor, who will order supplies to be 
furnished, and even obtain them by compulsion. On my arrival, 
finding that we wanted supplies, and not knowing how long (in the 
event of an accident to our land party) I might be detained, I was 
advised to apply to the commandant-general, through whom I would 
be sure of obtaining them. I therefore despatched a note by an 
officer, whom the general treated with great politeness, and returned 
for answer, that he could supply me with the following articles: Lima 
beans, wheat, potatoes, and other vegetables, which we had been 
unable to obtain. Fortunately for us, as well as for the lower orders 
and Indians, the party arrived, and we were not under the necessity 
of making use of his powerful intervention. The general, I was told, 
considers every bushel of grain as much at his command as he does 
the persons of the people, and the property of the state. Zonoma is 
to be the capital of this country, provided the general has power and 
lives long enough to build it up. An idea has got abroad that he is 
looking to the gubernatorial chair, and to be placed there by the same 
force that has raised Alvarado and himself to the posts they now 

Zonoma is on the road that leads to Ross and Bodega ; and by this 
route Captain Suter has transported all the stock he purchased of the 

The reality of the hostility said to exist between these two rival 
administradors, seems doubtful, at least to the extent reported by the 

The state of society here is exceedingly loose : envy, hatred, and 
malice, predominate in almost every breast, and the people are 


wretched under their present rulers ; female virtue, I regret to say, is 
also at a low ebb ; and the coarse and lascivious dances which meet 
the plaudits of the lookers-on, show the degraded tone of manners 
that exist. 

The mission of San Rafael is in the fertile valley of that name, 
about twelve miles from Sausalito, and consists of a large building, 
with a small chapel at its end ; it is in a tolerable state of preser- 
vation, and is under the superintendence of an Irishman, named 
Murphy. He has been put there, from its being considered a place 
of emolument, through his interest with the governor, and in order 
to pick up the crumbs that are still left. I understood, however, that 
Murphy had been disappointed in his expectations, and that it was his 
intention to establish himself elsewhere. Padre Kihas resides at this 
mission for six months of the year, and performs the duties of priest 
to those around it. 

On the 24th of October, a fete was given at this place, in honour of 
the patron saint ; and it was rumoured that there was to be a grand 
bull-fight. This spectacle came off accordingly, but was so miserably 
conducted as to prevent all kind of sport. The bulls had greatly the 
advantage, and the men and horses were tumbled about in a ridi- 
culous manner, until they both became quite shy. They had cut off 
the tips of the bulls' horns, which was a fortunate circumstance for 
both horses and riders, who received no material injury. There was 
no bull and bear fight; in consequence, it was understood, of their not 
being able to procure one of the latter animals. In the fights between 
the bull and bear, it is said that however strong and savage the bull 
may be, the bear is always the conqueror : the only part of the bull 
he endeavours to attack is the tongue, by seizing which he inva- 
riably proves the victor. 

When the fights were over, dancing was resorted to, and continued 
during the evening and all night. It was accompanied with hard 
drinking and uproarious conduct. Mr. Murphy's entertainment was 
considered fully equal to any that had been given for some time, 
and particularly the latter part of it, which may be better imagined 
than described. 

Our duties at this port being completed, I felt desirous of knowing 
something of the missions at the south end of the bay of San Fran- 
cisco, and, with Captain Hudson, determined to make a visit to them. 

We left the Vincennes on the morning of the 29th, at an early 
hour, intending to reach the mission of Santa Clara by water. We 


stopped a short time at Yerba Buena to see Captain Hinckley and 
Mr. Spears, who kindly furnished us with a guide to point out the 
passages through the shoals, and the entrance to the creek that leads 
up to the Embarcadero, the landing whence the people of the mission 
usually ship their hides. We had a fine wind, and went briskly on 
until we reached the upper part of the bay, where we found our guide 
useless as a pilot. The consequence of his incapacity was, that we got 
on shore, and were detained so long that night overtook us before we 
entered the river Caravallio, that runs in a tortuous direction to the 
Embarcadero. Its course more resembled the turns of a corkscrew 
than any other thing to which I can liken it. I think we counted 
twenty-nine bends before we reached the point at which we were to 
disembark, which was nearly at the head of the creek. We were 
compelled to haul the boat along by the grass and rushes on each 
side, and it was near midnight before we achieved our object. As 
we passed through this narrow inlet, the birds that were lodged for 
the night, alarmed by the noise we made, flew in thousands from the 
marshes. Their fluttering was so great as to resemble the rushing 
of a vast wave ; for as they rose, thousands seemed to follow thousands, 
until the sound died away in the distance, and again seemed to ap- 
proach in an opposite direction. In the pitchy darkness, not a bird 
was to be seen, although they must have passed only a few feet above 
our heads. 

At the Embarcadero we found no house or accommodations of any 
kind ; but the guide soon led us to what he termed the road, which 
was found marked by the huge ruts made by the ox-carts. The 
walk was of service to us, as we had become chilled with the cold and 
damp air. 

After proceeding a mile over a level plain, we reached the estancia. 
The first notice we had of it was a broken coural, and the ground 
covered with vast quantities of bones, hoofs, and horns. Over these 
we stumbled continually, until, on turning the corner of the coural, 
we were set upon by a pack of dogs, some fifty in number, which 
barked in every tone, from the snappish note of the pug to the sonorous 
voice of the bull-dog. All came forward, intent upon arresting our 
progress towards the ^arge adobe building, which was now in dim 
outline before us. The bones served us as missiles to keep them at 
bay, and thus to protect our approach to the premises ; and when we 
reached the porch, we gave the discourteous curs a full discharge. 
We knocked lustily for some time, but no answer was returned, nor 

vol. v. 54 


could we see any light; but on a frequent repetition, each time re- 
doubling our efforts, we at last heard light footsteps, and the door was 
suddenly opened by a little Indian girl, who ushered us into a large 
room, which, from the tables, chairs, and closets with china, we found 
to be the salle a manger. Here we had a full view of the interior; and 
the light which was burning in the adjacent rooms, showed us the 
occupants fast asleep. We had scarcely time to look around us, 
when a huge Californian, more than six feet in height, and propor- 
tionately large, stalked towards us in his shirt. His whole figure and 
countenance indicated a savage, and carried me back at once in idea to 
the Feejee cannibals. In a gruff tone he demanded our wants, and 
when he had satisfactorily ascertained who we were, and received a 
cigar as a token of friendship, he called up the whole family, consisting 
of a mother, two daughters, and several other children. These, after 
dressing themselves, came forth, and greeted us with genuine hospi- 
tality, with such pleasant faces and cheerful talk, that it was really 
delightful to find ourselves in such quarters ; and our surprise was the 
greater, in consequence of the exterior having proved so uninviting. 
They immediately set about providing us with supper, consisting of 
tea, tortillas, valdivias, ollas, with eggs and a steak ; and while this 
was in preparation by some, others were arranging the beds and 
changing the furniture of the sleeping-room. All this was done 
whilst the mother was talking and waiting upon us ; and after 
supper was over, she pointed to our room, and then excused her- 
self, by saying she must provide something for the sailors who had 
accompanied us ; whilst we retired to rest, much fatigued with our 

The room was furnished differently from what we had been accus- 
tomed to, yet it was quite comfortable. The only piece of furniture 
that was not new to us was a high-post bedstead, evidently from our 
own country, though bedecked with old Spanish tapestry, in the way 
of tester, curtains, and valance. Instead of drawers, there were huge 
trunks, that put to shame those of modern construction. These 
contained the household linen and the finery of the females of the 
family, and were raised from the floor, that a broom might be passed 
underneath them. Here and there on the .walls hung a new-made 
dress, of ample dimensions, and several Spanish sombreros, those that 
were of more recent date hanging highest; at least I judged them to 
be the best ones, from the careful manner in which they were covered 
up. There was no wash-stand ; but a French ewer and basin, of the 


lozenge shape, of white and gold porcelain, were placed on a chair. A 
single looking-glass was hung high over it, its head inclining outwards. 
The dimensions of the frame were small, and the glass still smaller, 
owing to a figure of a patron saint occupying the larger part of the 
upper surface. Of chairs we had five, two with leathern seats and 
high backs ; the others were of home manufacture. A large grated 
window, well barred with iron, with the thick and massive walls of 
an adobe house, gave it the look of security for confinement within, 
or against attack from without. Half a dozen coloured prints of the 
saints, ten inches square, in black frames, graced the walls. 

Our beds, and every thing connected with them, were comfortable; 
and the manner in which we had been provided for made the enter- 
tainment doubly welcome. We found in the morning that we had 
occupied the sleeping-room of our hostess and her daughters, and 
that they had given it up expressly to accommodate us. 

Before going to bed, we had made arrangements to send for horses 
to take us to the mission of Santa Clara, some three miles distant. 
None were to be obtained here, as the head of the family was now 
away, and had taken with him all those that were kept about the 
premises; the rest, we were told, were "muy lejos" (afar off). 

The name of the family is Peralto, which is connected with the 
early settlement of California, and one of the most respectable in the 

We arose about eight o'clock, and consequently missed our choco- 
late, which is given at an early hour, and could get no breakfast until 
eleven o'clock. Our horses had not arrived, and whilst we were 
waiting for them, Senor Don Miguel Felesfore de Pedrorena arrived 
from Yerba Buena, who at once made our acquaintance. He very 
kindly offered us his services to arrange matters, and to assist us on 
our way to Santa Clara, where he was then going. To this gentleman 
I feel myself much indebted. We found him a lively, intelligent 
companion, and well acquainted with the. country and people. He is 
supercargo of several vessels on the coast, and extensively engaged 
in the peculiar manner of trading, of which I will have occasion to 
speak presently. 

While horses were sought for us, we spent the time in looking 
around the premises. The house was a long one-story adobe building, 
with a thickly thatched roof, forming, by its projection, a piazza in 
front, supported by columns. There were many enclosures about 
the house, that gave it the appearance of a farm-yard and slaughter- 
house combined. Bones, hoofs, horns, and pieces of hide, were lying 


in every direction, and the ground was indented with the feet of 
cattle. Ducks, dogs, and fowls, were picking at the bones and offal. 
There were one or two ox-carts, of clumsy proportions, a bee-hive, 
and a ley-vat, formed of hide and suspended to four stakes, in the 
shape of a large bag, hung near by. At a short distance from the 
house was the vegetable-garden, where every thing grew in profusion, 
although without care. The only trouble in gardening was to put 
the seed into the ground, and await the result. This estancia is situ- 
ated between two copses of wood, that grow on the banks of the 
brook that winds past it, and nearly join in the rear. In front is a 
plain, extending fifteen or twenty miles to the foot of the Sierra, 
which forms a pleasing and bold contrast to the flat surface, on which 
nothing is seen but here and there a small group of cattle, and 
immense flocks of wild geese ; or some shrub, which, owing to the 
refraction, appears almost detached from the surface, and with dimen- 
sions so much enlarged as to appear like a great tree. The plain at 
this time was of a dark hue, somewhat resembling a light bronze 
colour, in consecpience of the vegetation having been scorched up for 
many months. 

About nine o'clock, five horses arrived instead of the eight we were 
in need of. These were literally the lame, halt, and blind, having 
sore backs, and being withal half starved. One had an eye protrud- 
ing from its socket, another was without a tail. In any other country 
and place w r e should have refused to mount such horses ; they were 
indeed sorry beasts, and compared with that of Don Miguel's, that had 
been in waiting for him, truly deplorable. Of the caparisons I shall 
only say, that sheep-skin and raw-hide predominated, although I re- 
gretted before the league was passed over that I had not had more of 
the former under me. I felt ashamed, even in California, to be thus 
mounted. We took leave of our kind hostess with many thanks for 
the attention she had showed us, and engaged her to provide an ample 
supply for the boats' crews during our absence. 

The league between the Embarcadero and Santa Clara occupied us 
somewhat over an hour, for it was unbearable to attempt to ride faster 
than a walk. After ten o'clock, we came in sight of the mission of 
Santa Clara, and as we approached it the little ponds and damp places 
on the prairie were literally covered with wild geese, which would 
but barely open a way for us to pass through. They were far more 
tame than any barn-door geese I ever saw, and I could not easily 
divest myself of the idea that they were not domesticated. 

The mission of Santa Clara has, at a distance, a respectable 


appearance; but on our drawing near the long line of huts, formerly 
occupied by the Indians, which are now destroyed, excepting a few, 
the ruin and neglect that have taken place are evident enough. The 
church and mission-house adjoining have also a dilapidated look; 
their tile roofs and whitewashed walls require extensive repairs, as 
well as all the wood-work of the doors, posts, &c. The church flanks 
the mission-house on the north, and is about one hundred and fifty 
feet long by forty wide, and about fifty feet high ; it is surmounted 
by a small steeple. The mission-house is of only one story, with a 
corridor extending its whole length, of one hundred and fifty feet. 
This dwelling is now occupied both by the administrador and the 
padre, and a wall divides the premises into two parts, separating the 
temporal from the spiritual concerns of the establishment. The padre 
has his own servants, cooks, &c. 

As we rode up with Don Miguel, we had no need of further 
introduction, and shared the kind welcome he received, as an old 
acquaintance, who had evidently much to do with the affairs of the 
mission, in the way of business. The administrador and his deputy 
came forth to greet us, with an ample retinue of attendants, of many 
varieties of colour, from the darkest Indian to the pure white. The 
administrador is a kind, excellent old man, who has risen from being 
a corporal in the army, to his present post. I could not learn his 
original name. His wife belongs to one of the best families in the 
country; and on her marriage with the administrador, she insisted 
upon his taking her name, which is Aliza, one of the most distin- 
guished in California in bygone days. This, I understood, was not 
unusual, as the old family pride still predominates among these 
people. To the old lady we were soon introduced; her countenance 
and appearance bespoke her excellent character, which is well known 
throughout California. Nothing could be cleaner or more tidy than 
her house. Senor Aliza was too unv/ell to attend upon us, but his 
deputy acted as a substitute for that purpose. Shortly after our 
arrival, breakfast was announced, of which, after the ride we had had 
on our hard horses, we gladly partook. 

This meal was considered by us as rather a light one, and con- 
sisted principally of fruit, and small ollas, peppers, &c. What it 
lacked in quantity was made up in quality. This was according to 
the usage of the country, and although Don Miguel wished to speak 
to Senora Aliza, with reference to a larger supply, we refused to give 
her any more trouble than could be avoided. She had prepared the 

vol. v. 55 


whole with her own hands, and prided herself on her admirable 
management and cookery. Few certainly could equal her in the 
preparation of stews and delicate high-flavoured dishes ; but of each 
there was but a mouthful, and the deputy took good care to have 
more than his fair proportion. After breakfast, I strolled around the 
premises, and saw our good hostess busily engaged in directing her 
domestic concerns. The rear of the mission forms a quadrangle 
of low sheds, in which the domestic manufacture of candles, pre- 
serves, baking, and a variety of other duties, are performed. In 
these were some ten or fifteen Indians busily employed, and although 
clean, they did not excel so much in this respect as the interior 
of the main building, which appeared to be entirely under her own 

Don Miguel proposed to us to make a visit to Padre Mercador, and 
that he might not be taken by surprise, a messenger was sent to ask 
at what hour he would be ready to receive us. This ceremony is 
deemed necessary, for the duties of the padre are considered here to 
be of such a nature as to preclude intrusion. Our messenger speedily 
returned with an intimation that he would be glad to have us pay 
him our visit at once. We were soon ushered into the small study 
of Padre Mercador, who received us with much courtesy. He is of 
the Franciscan order, good-looking, portly, and possesses a cheerful 
and intelligent countenance. Having Don Miguel to interpret in 
Spanish, and the padre speaking a little French, we made out to 
converse very well. His study is small, but contains many works of 
the old fathers, with several French authors, and comprises some six 
or seven hundred volumes. He showed us the different returns from 
the missions prior to 1828, but no attention had been paid since that 
date to the preservation of statistics. In Appendix VII., I have in- 
serted one, in which the state of all the missions throughout Upper 
California is given, and which embraces not only their population but 
also the quantity of produce raised. This table will give an idea also 
of the management of the directors of the missions before the revolu- 
tion. Since 1828, as already stated, the missions have been on 
the decline, and no returns have been given in, as was formerly 

The padre spoke with resignation in relation to the manner in 
which the missions had been despoiled, and did not express any sur- 
prise that such things should have happened under their present 


Padre Mercador served us with wine and fruit ; of the latter, the 
pears were delicious. Don Miguel having notified me that it was 
expected our party should ask to see the church, I made the request; 
and the padre having supplied himself with a large bunch of keys, 
ushered us through several narrow passages, to the door of the vestry- 
room in the rear, into which we entered. Several pairs of massive 
candlesticks of silver were standing about on tables, and around the 
room were large trunks, which he opened, and showed us the rich 
altar-pieces, costly robes, and fine laces, which they contained. Many 
of the former were most magnificently embroidered in gold and silver, 
and composed of substantial silks and satins of divers colours. The 
splendour of the wardrobe was out of character with the smallness of 
the church ; and on my remarking it, he said these things were for 
processions, to have effect upon " los gentiles." One or two small pic- 
tures that hung in this room were worthy of notice. Don Miguel 
asserted that he thought if I desired them, there would be no great 
difficulty in procuring any article that could be spared. I had no dis- 
position to authorize him to make the attempt ; but this suggestion 
tends to show in how little regard the obliging padre was held by the 
community. We next passed into the church, the whole length of 
which was thrown into one, without any columns. At one end is the 
altar, and at the other the choir, which the padre informed me con- 
sisted of some eighty Indians, who are daily in practice. He said that 
the Indians were fond of music, had good ears, and little difficulty was 
found in teaching it to them. In making the selections of performers, 
they generally took those whose physical qualifications seemed best 
adapted to the particular instrument, and practice did the rest. In 
this way, such music as pleased the Indians and people of the 
country, and which therefore answered his purposes, was produced. 
The chapel is painted in fresco, or I should rather say daubed, by a 
young artist of Mexico. The saints are all represented in fall 
costume, and the scenes depicted are those most likely to attract the 
attention and wonder of the neophytes. The whole has a gaudy 
and unsightly appearance. We parted from Padre Mercador at the 
church door, knowing it was about the hour of his noon service ; and 
received from him a pressing invitation to visit him in the evening, 
to play a game of chess, of which he said he was very fond. 

We now returned to the administrador, whom we found enveloped 
in his large overcoat, with a white nightcap on his head, waiting in 
his salle a. manger to receive us, and afford us entertainment. Don 


Miguel gave us the secret of this movement, saying, that his wife, 
after our arrival in the morning, had persuaded him to go to bed ; but 
he could not resist the opportunity that now offered itself, of telling 
his old stories over again to willing listeners : and we had scarcely 
taken our seats, before he began a full account of his birth, parentage, 
&c, and was about relating his adventures in full, when the bell tolled 
noon. He immediately sprang upon his feet, faced the south, and 
began to cross himself, and repeat a prayer with great volubility. In 
this exercise he continued for a few minutes, until he heard the last 
taps of the bell. Of this we took advantage, to break up his dis- 
course ; which, notwithstanding sundry efforts on his part, we suc- 
ceeded in doing, and it was not long before we heard he was again in 
bed. His deputy answered all our questions, and assured me that he 
was well acquainted with the concerns of the mission, for he had 
heard them very often repeated by the administrador during the last 
few years. 

The deputy now conducted us through the garden, which is sur- 
rounded by a high adobe wall, and has a gate that is always kept 
locked. It was from one and a half to two acres in extent, and 
mostly planted with grapes, which are cultivated after the Spanish 
fashion, without trellises : some of the fruit was yet hanging, and was 
generally of the sweet Malaga kind. Our guide informed me that 
the mission took the first picking, for the manufacture of wine and to 
preserve, then the inhabitants, the women of the "gente de razon," 
and afterwards the children. Strict watch was, however, kept that 
they did not pull the other fruit. Only a certain number are allowed 
to work in the garden, and the whole is placed under the constant 
superintendence of a gardener. It would be almost impossible to 
protect the fruit otherwise. They have fruit of all kinds, both of the 
tropical and temperate climates, which they represented as succeed- 
ing admirably well. A few barrels of wine are made, but nothing 
can be more rude than their whole process of manufacturing it. 
The tillage is performed with ploughs that we should deem next to 
useless ; they are nothing but a crooked piece of timber, four to six 
inches square, somewhat in the shape of our 
ploughs, which merely serves to loosen the 
ground to a depth of three or four inches ; but 
in such a soil, and in this level land, this rude implement answers 
the purpose, and produces crops on an average of from sixty to eighty 
for one. The ploughs are drawn by oxen, and are well adapted to 


the Indians, who more readily learn to use them than they would 
more complicated machines. 

After spending some time in the garden, we were recalled to 
dinner ; and if we had cause to complain of the slightness of the 
breakfast, the dinner made ample amends, every variety of dish being 
abundant and admirably prepared. Don Miguel congratulated him- 
self and us that the administrador was not in a fit state to prevent 
us from enjoying it, by the everlasting narration of his adventures. 
Senora Aliza had quite surpassed even her usual good feasts in this 
dinner, which called forth much praise from our companion. 

At the missions throughout the country four meals are daily 
taken : at an early hour, chocolate; at eleven o'clock, breakfast; at two, 
dinner ; and at seven, supper. The dinner and supper are the prin- 
cipal meals, and at them the Californians indulge to a great extent. 

After our meal was finished, Don Miguel, having some business at 
the Pueblo of San Jose, about a league from Santa Clara, he invited 
us to accompany him thither. After some difficulty in procuring 
horses, we set out on sorry nags, and on leaving the mission entered 
an avenue lined on each side with large trees. These I understood 
had been planted at an early day, by one of the padres, in order to 
protect the people from the sun during the celebration of the church 
festivals, and to leave no excuse to the inhabitants of the pueblo for 
not visiting the mission church. 

Just before arriving at the pueblo, we crossed over one of the tor- 
tuous branches of the Rio Guadaloupe, some twenty feet wide, and 
had a view of the pueblo. It seemed as if this were a gala-day, 
and as if every one were abroad celebrating it on the banks of this 
river, or rather creek ; the overflow of which had served to keep the 
grass green for a considerable space around. Instead of its being a 
festival, it turned out to be the general washing-day of the village ; 
and the long lines, trees, bushes, &c, were all hung with the many- 
coloured garments, which, with the crowds of men, women, and 
children, and some cattle, seen moving to and fro, or gathered in 
small groups, gave the whole quite a pleasing effect. I was told 
that the Pueblo of San Jose had a larger number of inhabitants than 
any other in Upper California; but as we rode into it, it seemed 
almost deserted, and I would willingly have gone back and amused 
myself with the scene on the green, if Don Miguel had not repre- 
sented to me, that his standing would be very much affected if we 
did not at once proceed to the alcalde's. We accordingly rode up to 

vol. v. 56 


his house, a very pretty two-storied edifice, of a light-cream colour, in 
the centre of the main street, and directly opposite a new church that 
they are erecting. The alcalde gave us a cordial reception. His 
first appearance was that of a French pastry-cook, with his white 
cap and apron. He was a short, dapper, rosy-cheeked man, by birth 
a Frenchman, but had been now twenty years settled in the pueblo ; 
was married, and had eleven children, who looked as healthy and as 
dirty as one would wish to see them. The moment he understood 
who his visiters wei'e, he did us the honour to doff his white cap and 
apron ; and shortly after appeared in a roundabout, very much orna- 
mented with braid, &c. The only name I heard him called by, was 
Don Pedro. He spoke his native language imperfectly, using a great 
many Spanish words with it, and told me that he had nearly forgot- 
ten it. From him I learned that the pueblo contained six hundred 
inhabitants, about forty of whom were whites. He described himself 
as the " sous-prefet," and said that he administered justice, inflicted 
punishment, and had the ability to make the inhabitants happy, as 
he thought they should be. On my asking, by what laws he admi- 
nistered justice, his answer was, — by what he thought right. He 
had very little trouble, except guarding against the attacks of the 
Indians and preventing them from stealing horses, of which he had 
great fears ; he had, therefore, provided for the safety of his own by 
keeping them in a small shed attached to his house, and within a 
locked gate. 

He considered the pueblo as in danger of attacks from the Indians, 
who were now in great numbers within striking- distance, and had 
become very troublesome of late in driving off horses, of which 
they had lost three or four hundred, and he said that pursuit was 
impossible, as they now had no troops. I was not satisfied that the 
alcalde was the bravest man in the world, or that he thought much 
of the interests of those over whom he had sway. Don Miguel gave 
him the character of being a good customer, and generally punctual 
in his payments. He entertained us with wine and beer of his own 
making, and showed us the copy-books of his children, who were in 
pot-hooks and trammels, which he looked upon as a wonderful ad- 
vancement in the education of the country. Some half-dozen books 
were all they owned in the pueblo; but to make up for this deficiency, 
the alcalde told me they were all very happy, and that there were but 
few quarrels, for those in which stabs were inflicted did not occur 
oftener than once a fortnight. We took our departure a short time 


before sunset, amidst the gathering in of the villagers, with their 
goods and chattels, to a place of safety. There are two Americans 
settled here, who own mills, but I was not fortunate enough to meet 
with them ; the alcalde, however, gave them good characters. The 
evening was a beautiful one, and we had a delightful ride back to the 
mission ; and our horses, knowing they were on their return, were 
quite mettlesome. 

The mode of conducting business in this country is peculiar. Ves- 
sels, on reaching the coast, employ as a supercargo or travelling 
agent, some person well known throughout the country, who visits all 
the pueblos, missions, and estancias, as a traveller, passing from place 
to place without any apparent object of business. He thus has an 
opportunity of inspecting the worldly affairs of those to whom he 
desires to sell ; and if he finds them apparently thrifty, he produces 
his card of patterns, and soon induces a disposition on the part of his 
host or hostess to buy, being careful to secure in payment as much of 
their worldly goods as he can, and trusting them for the rest of the 
indebtedness. A few live cattle delivered by each purchaser at the 
neighbouring pueblo, become by this means a large herd, which is 
committed to cattle-tenders on shares, who in due time slaughter them 
and deliver the hides. A large amount of goods is thus disposed of, 
to a very considerable profit. Large cargoes, consisting of a variety 
of articles, of both American and English manufacture, are thus sold. 
From the state of the country, it has been difficult to obtain payments 
or returns in money ; but the debts have been paid in cattle, and 
probably will turn out well, when the rains return and allow the 
animals to be again slaughtered. When hides are given in payment, 
they are valued at two dollars, and are at all times the common cur- 
rency of the country. No money is in circulation, unless what is 
paid out by the foreign merchants ; and in lieu of change, an extra 
quantity of goods is taken, which excess is usually to the disadvantage 
of the buyer. 

On our return to Santa Clara, we had to procure horses for our 
journey back by land. We had been told by the administrador and his 
deputy, that there would be no difficulty in the mission providing us 
with horses and saddles; and under this assurance, we had despatched 
our boats on their return to the ship, determining to make the ride of 
sixty miles the next day. We soon found that the mission horses 
were lame, and that they had strayed. These, with many other 
excuses, all showed us the dilemma we were in. Three or more 


messengers were pretended to be sent to the pueblo and the neigh- 
bouring estancias; and after much delay and several feigned disap- 
pointments, we were told that six animals might be procured. The 
exorbitant price of four dollars for each was asked for the use of these. 
A good horse may be purchased for eight dollars. As I at once saw 
the game that was in progress, I thought it better to comply with a 
good grace than perhaps to suffer farther imposition ; so six were 
agreed for at four dollars each, for the next day. I was well aware 
that the deputy was deeply in the plot, and probably shared a part of 
the profits. 

Being engaged in the evening, we went early to Padre Mercador's 
to play chess, for which he has more love than knowledge of the game. 
He had boasted not a little of his prowess, but after suffering defeat in 
three successive games, his opinion of his skill was somewhat lessened. 
He was in fact but a novice in the game. For refreshments we had 
brandy and wine, with cigars and fruit, of which the hospitable 
padre and Don Miguel both partook most freely, particularly the 
former. We remained until nine o'clock, when a message was 
brought us that supper was ready, and we retired, leaving Padre 
Mercador to resume the duties of his office. For his kindness and 
attentions we were greatly indebted to him ; I wish I could say that 
his mode of life and the influence he exerts over his charge, also 
deserved commendation. 

At the head of the supper-table, we found Donna Aliza, with a huge 
dish of smoking valdivias before her, and a variety of edibles, with an 
infusion of tea in small cups, which, at the request of Don Miguel, 
was added to until it became drinkable, but not without many excla- 
mations against its extravagance. The poor husband was in bed, and 
Captain Hudson, who went to see him, finding that he was suffering 
from a severe cold he had taken, prescribed bathing his feet, and a 
strong glass of hot whiskey punch. Don Miguel accordingly pre- 
pared the latter, which was cheerfully taken by the patient, who 
shortly afterwards fell into a sound sleep. In the morning, we found 
that he was entirely recovered. 

Our beds were clean and comfortable, though the apartment had 
a strong smell of cordovan leather. The only place of deposit for 
clothing &c, was, as we had seen in the estancia, in large trunks. 
The matin-bell aroused us at early dawn, when we heard the full 
choir practising. There was certainly nothing earthly in the sound, 
nor yet heavenly ; much noise, but little music. 


We were up betimes, but were threatened with disappointment 
in our horses. The kind and attentive Donna Aliza served us with 
chocolate and toast, and prepared cold tongues, chickens, and ample 
stores of bread for our use. At last the horses, together with the 
Indians who were to accompany us, made their appearance, and out 
of the number, I recognised at least three that belonged to the ad- 
ministrador, as I had been led to believe would be the case the 
evening before. His good wife ordered us their best saddles, but 
without the pillions or saddle-cloths. 

After an hour's preparation, we took our leave and galloped off, in 
company with Don Miguel, who proposed to accompany us some six 
or seven miles, on our way to visit some of his herds, that were then 
feeding on the prairie. We had not proceeded far before we were 
overtaken by the person who had them in charge, coming at a 
furious gallop. He was mounted on the best horse I had seen in the 
country, and dressed after the Californian fashion, in a dark brown 
cloth jacket, thickly braided, both before and behind, with slashed 
sleeves, showing his shirt elegantly embroidered, both on the breast 
and sleeves ; velvet breeches of bright blue, secured around his waist 
with a red sash, and open at the sides, ornamented with braid and 
brass bells, in abundance ; below the knee he wore leather leggins, 
fastened with garters, worked in silver, and below these, shoes, over 
which were fastened large silver spurs, with the heavy rowels of the 
country ; on his head was tied a red bandana handkerchief, and over 
that a huge broad-brimmed sombrero, with peaked crown, covered 
with an oil-silk cloth ; the whole decorated with cords, aiguillettes, 
and ribands, with a guard-cord passing under the chin. His horse 
was equally well caparisoned, the bridle being decked with silver, 
as were the tips of his large wooden stirrups ; with pillions and saddle- 
cloths in abundance. Few riders had so gay an air, or seemed to 
have so perfect a command of the animal he rode ; and until we 
arrived at the wood where his Indians were looking out, he was an 
object of great attraction, assuming all the airs and graces of a person 
of high rank. 

After galloping for several miles, we reached a few trees and 
bushes, that are designated as the " woods." Near by was a large 
herd of his cattle feeding. The Rancheros we found lying about, in 
huts of hide, with a fire in front, and the leg-bone of an ox roasting 
over it ; the skulls, bones, and offal, lay about, with hides here and 

vol. v. 57 


there pegged to the ground.* Some score of dogs were disputing 
over that last killed, and the ground around seemed alive with 
cranes, crows, &c, acting as scavengers, and disputing for their 
shares. There is no smell except that of raw beef; the climate is so 
dry that no putrid matter exists, but the sight is unpleasant enough 
to those who have not become accustomed to it. 

Previous to setting out, we provided our saddles with extra sheep- 
skins ; we now took leave of Don Miguel with many thanks for his 
attentions, and a hearty shake of the hand. We soon found that our 
horses began to fag from the effects of our bad riding, and the fatigued 
and wretched condition they were in ; and by the time we arrived at 
Las Pulgas, we found it necessary to change, and were glad to have 
a temporary relief from our saddles. Any one who has ever ridden 
upon a Californian saddle, with but a slender covering to it, will be 
able to understand our feelings. We were besides but ill provided 
for the trip, which our nags seemed not slow to discover. We had 
no well-armed heels, and were, besides, deficient in whips, both in- 
dispensable to a rider in California. The consequence was, that they 
could not be made to move along, without most laborious efforts of 
bodily strength. 

The country we passed through was at this time destitute of both 
water and grass, and the weather uncomfortably warm. In places 
we found it picturesque, from the scattered oaks, laurels, &c, though 
to all appearance entirely unfit for cultivation. Wherever there was 
any running water, a pond, or vegetation, large flocks of geese and 
ducks were seen. At four o'clock, we entered the estancia of Seiior 
Sanchez, to whom Don Miguel had given us a note of introduction, 
desiring that he would aid us if we wanted horses. We had looked 
forward to this point with hope, in the belief that our troubles in 
riding such forlorn beasts would terminate, and that our bodies as 
well as our minds would be set at rest. 

The word estancia seems to give one an idea of something more 
extensive than a small farm : it sounds more noble and wealthy ; but 
whatever had been our opinion before, the reality disappointed us. 
Sefior Sanchez's estancia at a distance, was quite a respectable-looking 
building ; the broad shadow cast by its projecting roof gave it a 
substantial and solid appearance ; but a nearer approach dispelled 

* The hides of the cattle that die, or that are killed for food, are cured in this way. 


these favourable impressions, and showed its uncouth proportions, 
as well as the neglect in which the whole was kept. The way to the 
house, which stands on a knoll, leads through miry places, and over 
broken-down fences, winding around dilapidated ox-carts, over troughs, 
old baskets, dead hogs, dogs, and fowls, all huddled together. Rude 
articles of husbandry occupied the sides of the building. Seeing no 
one, we dismounted, tied our horses, and began to search for in- 
habitants. All the houses were unfinished ; to the doors of some 
there were no steps, and no floors to the rooms of others ; the adobes 
were bare, and destitute of plaster or whitewash ; and what was more 
disheartening, no inhabitants made their appearance. At last a slave 
was seen crawling from a wretched hole, whom we followed to the 
only place which yet remained unsearched, a distant corner of the 
premises, where we found the family, consisting of a mother and 
daughter. The latter was a nice-looking girl, to whom our note 
was handed, and who read it aloud to her mother, who did not 
recognise the name of Don Miguel. Whether this arose from design 
or ignorance, I know not ; but the note produced no apparent effect : 
however, after a few compliments, and a little persuasion, through 
our servant, (who spoke Spanish well,) the mother was somewhat 
softened, and we procured a tumbler of milk, and a tortilla. But we 
could not induce her to allow us to take from the fifty horses that 
were then in the coural, the few we required. Her constant answer 
was, that her husband was not at home, and she could not do it. 
We strayed about the kitchen, which was the only apartment fit 
for occupation, and warmed ourselves over the small fire that had 
been lighted, for the air was becoming chilly and damp. This apart- 
ment was lighted from the door and a small window; it was furnished 
with numerous stew-holes and ovens, which appeared very convenient 
for cooking ; and above them were placed shelves, on which the pans 
of milk were resting. In the centre was a large mortar, and beyond 
it, at the far end, quite in the dark, the rude grist-mill of the country. 
To the long shaft of the mill a small donkey was harnessed. This 
place apparently, answered also as a stable. The whole had quite a 
primitive look, and showed, at least, some comfort and forethought. 
During our examinations, in came the husband, very unexpectedly to 
his wife and daughter, as well as to ourselves. He had the face of 
a ruffian. After many suspicious looks and questions, he gave his 
consent, though very unwillingly, to supply us with horses. Lest it 
should be supposed that this man was the owner of the estancia, I 


must here say, that Senor Sanchez was not at home ; although I am 
not prepared to vouch, from what I heard afterwards, that our treat- 
ment at his hands would have been any better. We were told that it 
was but a short two hours' ride to Yerba Buena, and we hoped to 
reach it before dark. We therefore made haste to secure fresh horses, 
and soon took our departure. The horses were but sorry-looking 
animals, and I must own that the thanks for them were very difficult 
to utter. 

We had scarcely gone beyond the " a dios" of our ill-looking friend, 
when the steed of Captain Hudson came to a stand, and no persua- 
sion, whipping, or spurring could induce him to move. It was then 
discovered that he was blind, and in attempting to move him we 
found he was lame also. My servant John was then directed to 
change, as he was the best horseman of the three, and after a trial 
of patience, succeeded in getting him along. 

After dark we reached the house of Mr. Spears, at Yerba Buena. 
We were barely able to dismount, having had one of the roughest 
and most fatigiiing rides I ever experienced. A warm welcome from 
our countryman at Yerba Buena, and a seat at his hospitable board, 
soon refreshed us. My boat being in waiting, we embarked, and 
reached the Vincennes at two o'clock in the morning, greatly fatigued, 
yet highly gratified with our jatint to the mission of Santa Clara. 

Finding all those belonging to Lieutenant Emmons's party had 
now joined the ship, preparations for sea were at once made. I shall 
now take up the operations in Southern Oregon, which will form the 
subject of the following chapter. 









The last chapter closed with the arrival of Lieutenant Emmons 
and his party at San Francisco. I shall now give some account of 
the operations of this party, and of the country they passed through. 
The difficulties which were experienced in the organization of the 
party, have already been alluded to in another place, and need not 
be repeated. There remain to be described some of the articles of 
his ecpupment, in the preparation of which much time was consumed, 
and which were absolutely necessary for the success of the expedition. 
The principal part of the provision was flour ; this is packed in sacks ; 
the sacks are again enclosed in a " parflesh" made of hide, to protect 
them from being torn to pieces by the boughs of trees and underwood; 
this rests upon a pack-saddle, by which the load is firmly secured 
on the horse; while, to protect his back from injury, a thick saddle- 
cloth called " appichemens" lies beneath the pack-saddle. These 
articles are represented in the annexed cut. 



To these are to be added the trail-rope and lash-cord, six or eight 
fathoms in length. These trails drag on the ground, and are intended 
for the purpose of catching the horses. Now, all these articles 
were to be prepared in a country where no mechanic is to be found ; 


and so indispensable are they, that any party which sets out without 
them would in all probability be compelled to return. 

Our gentlemen, when they left Vancouver, proceeded by the way 
of the Hudson Bay Company's farm on Multunomah or Wapauto 
Island, which is near the place where Captain Wyeth had erected 
his fort. They then crossed the river and went towards the Faulitz 
Plains, passing on their route a large grazing farm belonging to the 
Company, and those of many settlers. From these they were sup- 
plied with fresh horses. They found the country beautiful, and the 
land rich. Their route lay over hills and through prairies. The 
hills were wooded with large pines and a thick undergrowth of rose- 
bushes, Rubus, Dogwood, and Hazel. The prairies were covered 
with variegated flowers, and abounded in Nuttallia, Columbines, 
Larkspurs, and bulbous-rooted plants, which added to the beauty, as 
well as to the novelty of the scenery. 

Some sickness had made its appearance among the members of the 
party. Messrs. Emmons, Peale, Rich, and Agate, all had attacks of 
ague and fever, and the two last-named gentlemen suffered much 
from this disease. Dr. Whittle ascribed these attacks to the length 
of time, nearly five weeks, during which they had been encamped 
on the Willamette, and particularly to the position of the camp, 
immediately on the bank of the river, where it was subject to the 
damp and fogs. 

When the party set out, new difficulties arose from the fact that 
the horses had for some time been unused to saddles or packs, and 
from the awkwardness of the riders. Corporal Hughes of the marines, 
one of the party, was thrown from his horse, which took fright at 
some wild animals ci-ossing his path. The pack-horses were missing, 
and caused much difficulty in hunting them up ; one, when found, 
had waded into a creek with pack and all, and stood there with only 
his head out of water. At this an old hunter became enraged, and 
springing into the water, thrust his thumb into the horse's eye ; the 
pain of which treatment caused the animal to leap up the opposite 
bank with great agility, leaving part of his load behind. The part 
thus left proved to be the medicines prepared for the party ; but these 
were recovered, and being in phials were not materially injured. On 
reaching the first encampment, Smith the marine and his horse were 
both missing: to guide him, guns were fired during the night; but he 
did not make his appearance. In the morning, parties were sent in 



search of him and the pack-animals. In the afternoon, the marine 
made his appearance, without any other loss than the ramrod of his 
musket ; he had passed the night in the woods. This same man, a 
day or two after, reported to Lieutenant Emmons that he had lost his 
riding-horse : he was very properly told to go in search of him, and 
if he could not find him to return to Vancouver, as he was too help- 
less to be of any use. This had the desired effect, and from that day 
forth, he proved a useful man. There were many other annoyances 
and difficulties that Lieutenant Emmons's patience and perseverance 

During the time of their stay, Mr. Agate made many sketches. 
One of these is of a burying-place, which I have thought worth insert- 
ing, as exhibiting one of the peculiar features of a race which is now 
fast disappearing. The mode of burial seems to vary with almost 
every tribe: some place the dead above ground, while others bury 
their departed friends, surrounding the spot with a variety of utensils 
that had been used by the deceased. 

vol. v. 59 


The graves are covered with boards, in order to prevent the wolves 
from disinterring the bodies. The emblem of a squaw's grave is 
o-enerally a cammass-root digger, made of a deer's horns, and fastened 
on the end of a stick. 

From the delay of the party in the Willamette Valley, they became 
well acquainted with the various characters of the people who were 
settled there. They generally consist of those who have been hunters 
in the mountains, and were still full of the recklessness of that kind 
of life. Many of them, although they have taken farms and built 
log houses, cannot be classed among the permanent settlers, as they 
are ever ready to sell out and resume their old occupation, when an 
opportunity offers. Our party found them, with one or two excep- 
tions, well disposed. 

The gentlemen of the party, who had more time and opportunity 
to become acquainted with the operations of the missionaries than I 
had, were less favourably impressed than myself. One of the prin- 
cipal complaints of the settlers against the members of the mission 
was, that they never had any religious service, although several 
ministers of the mission were unemployed. This complaint, how- 
ever, could not be made on our part ; for, the first Sunday the party 
was encamped, the Rev. Mr. Leslie invited them all to his house for 
that purpose, which invitation was accepted. Tibbats, one of the 
party, was sitting by an open window during the sermon, and, as 
many have done before him, was nodding, in which motion he threw 
his head back and struck the stick that supported the sash, which 
coming down suddenly, caught him by the neck. This accident 
occasioned no small disturbance in the small congregation, but no 
injury resulted from it to the man, who was inclined to join in the 
laugh that unavoidably took place after he was extricated. This 
anecdote will show the character of the class of settlers which the 
missionaries would have to deal "with, and I am inclined to believe 
that for the neglect of duty imputed to them, those who make the 
charge are themselves chiefly to blame. 

It was the general impression of our party, however, that the field 
for a mission was but small, and not sufficient to warrant the ex- 
penses that have been lavished upon it. Their school was in opera- 
tion, and included twenty pupils in all. Dr. Babcock mentioned 
to one of our gentlemen that he had a native boy for a servant, of 
whose qualifications and education he spoke, saying that it was a 


great trouble to get him into cleanly habits, such as washing his 
face and hands in the morning, before he milked the cow. He next 
taught him to make a fire, boil a tea-kettle, and make tea ; he then 
taught him to fry and bake ; he could wash clothes, and would in a 
short time be able to iron. 

All our gentlemen experienced the same kind treatment and good 
fare that I have before spoken of, and nothing seemed to be wanting 
in the way of substantial comforts. 

The party, including Passed Midshipmen Eld and Colvocoressis, 
Messrs. Dana, Brackenridge, and the sergeant, proceeded up the 
Willamette river. They reached Champooing on the 3d, where they 
disembarked. In the morning they were taken to the house of 
Thomas M'Kay, who is one of the most noted persons in this valley, 
particularly among the mountain trappers. He is a man of middle 
age, tall, well-made, and of muscular frame, with an expression of 
energy and daring, and a deep-set, piercing black eye, beneath a pro- 
jecting full eyebrow. Among the trappers he is the hero of many a 
tale, and is himself prone to indulge his guests with his personal 
adventures. He lives in a house that answers both for a dwelling 
and grist-mill, and is said to be the best belonging to a settler in the 
valley. This man was engaged to go as guide; and, what speaks 
little for his veracity and principles, at the last moment refused to do 
so, and afterwards made his boast that he had fooled the party, as he 
had not intended to go from the first. His harvest had just been 
reaped, which he said had produced him twenty-five bushels to the 
acre. M'Kay furnished them with horses, and accompanied the 
party to the camp, where they arrived early in the afternoon. Here 
all was preparation for a speedy departure, and every one fully occu- 
pied with packs, saddles, and trappings. On the 7th, the party 
made their final move, and after travelling only six miles, encamped 
near Turner's, known as the mission butcher. He owns a farm, in 
the acceptation of the word in Oregon, having a log-hut, an Indian 
woman to reside in it, and an undefined quantity of land. The hut 
contains no furniture to sit or lie upon, and only the few articles 
most needed in cooking. He does not cultivate, any thing, but sup- 
ports himself by killing cattle semi-weekly. Report says that he 
was formerly a drummer in the United States service, but for up- 
wards of thirteen years he has led the sort of life he now does. He 
seems both contented and independent, and appears an honest and 


good-natured fellow. He has had several narrow escapes, having 
been twice with parties that were attacked by the southern Indians, 
in the passage to and from California. The last time he was one 
of four who escaped, subsisted on berries and roots for a fortnight, 
and was obliged to travel only at night, to avoid the Indians who 
were in search of him. He furnished our party with fresh beef of 
his own stock, refusing to receive pay, and seemed very much in- 
censed that the mission should have charged for what had been 
obtained from them. 

The country in the southern part of the Willamette Valley, stretches 
out into wild prairie-ground, gradually rising in the distance into low 
undulating hills, which are destitute of trees, except scattered oaks; 
these look more like orchards of fruit trees planted by the hand of 
man, than groves of natural growth, and serve to relieve the eye from 
the yellow and scorched hue of the plains. The meanderings of the 
streams may be readily followed by the growth of trees on their 
banks as far as the eye can see. 

They were detained here by the straying of their animals, and did 
not succeed in getting off until the next day, when Turner gave them 
two of his horses, being willing to run the risk of recovering the lost 
ones in their stead. 

On the morning of the 9th, they had a severe frost. In the course 
of the day they passed Creole creek, and encamped on the Ignas. 
The atmosphere during the day had become quite thick, owing to the 
smoke arising from the burning of the prairie. Here they prepared 
themselves fully for their journey, by trimming their horses' hoofs, 
and taking a full account of them. The soil was a red decomposed 
basalt, well adapted for grazing and wheat lands. 

On the 10th, the country was somewhat more hilly than the 
day previous, but still fine grazing land. During the day they 
crossed many small creeks. The rocks had now changed from a 
basalt to a whitish clayey sandstone. The soil also varied with it 
to a grayish-brown, instead of the former chocolate-brown colour, 
which was thought to be an indication of inferior quality. The 
country had an uninviting look, from the fact that it had lately been 
overrun by fire, which had destroyed all the vegetation except the 
oak trees, which appeared not to be injured. 

On the 11th, after passing during the day Lake Guardipii, which 
is about five hundred yards long, they encamped on the Lumtumbuff 


river, which is a branch of the Willamette. This river is a deep 
and turbid stream, branching out in places like a lake, but being in 
general narrow and fordable. 

On the 12th, the route was across a parched-up prairie, some por- 
tions of which were composed of gravel and white sand, mixed with 
clay. The paths were very rough, owing to the soil, which was much 
cut up by the herds that had been driven through ; and which, on 
becoming hard, was exceedingly fatiguing to the horses. Bands of 
wolves were met with, and were heard throughout the nio-ht howling 
in various parts of the prairies. The cry of these animals is peculiar : 
one sets up a long shrill whine, three or four join in, and in a few 
moments afterwards, the whole pack utter a sort of sharp yelp, which 
gives the idea of a half-laughing, half-crying chorus. The party had 
hitherto made from fifteen to twenty miles a day ; and in travelling 
this day, the animals suffered a great deal from want of water. They 
encamped on the Male creek, which was about thirty feet wide, and 
ran in a northerly direction. 

On the 13th, they had much difficulty in finding their horses, which 
had escaped the guards at night, owing to the thick fog that pre- 
vailed. They were in consequence unable to go forward until three 
o'clock in the afternoon ; some of the animals had gone six miles 
back on the trail in search of water, and were found in the vicinity of 
marshy places. Messrs. Emmons and Eld had employed the hours 
of this detention in getting dip and intensity observations. In conse- 
quence of this mishap, they were unable to make more than two 
miles during the day, which continued hot and foggy. 

Some wandering Callapuyas came to the camp, who proved to be 
acquaintances of Warfields' wife : they were very poorly provided 
with necessaries. Mr. Agate took a characteristic drawing of one 
of the old men. 

These Indians were known to many of the hunters, who manifested 
much pleasure at meeting with their old acquaintances, each vying 
with the other in affording them and their wives entertainment by 
sharing part of their provisions with them. This hospitality showed 
them in a pleasing light, and proved that both parties felt the utmost 
good-will towards each other. The Indians were for the most part 
clothed in deer-skins, with fox-skin caps, or cast-off clothing of the 
whites ; their arms, except in the case of three or four, who had rifles, 
were bows and arrows, similar to those I have described as used at 

vol. v. 60 



the north ; their arrows were carried in a quiver made of seal-skin, 
which was suspended over the shoulders. 


On the 15th, they reached the base of the Elk Mountains, which 
divide the valley of the Willamette from that of the Umpqua. The 
ascent and descent of this ridge are both gradual, and the hills were 
covered with pines, spruces, and oaks, with a thick undergrowth of 
Hazel, Arbutus, Rubus, and Cornus. Through these thickets they 
were obliged to force their way along the back of one of the spurs, 
and were three hours in reaching the top, which was fifteen hundred 
feet above the level of the plain. A species of Castanea was met 
with, whose leaves were lanceolate and very rusty beneath ; the cup 
of the nut was very prickly. 

The route over the Elk Mountains was very serpentine, owing to 
the obstruction caused by fallen timber, many of whose trunks were 
four and five feet in diameter. Previous to ascending the mountain, 
they had crossed several small streams over which the Hudson Bay 
Company had constructed bridges for the passage of their sheep. 
Much trouble was caused by the necessity of dragging a number of 
their pack-horses with lassos from a miry pool into which they had 
plunged. At the encampment, during the night, ice made on the 


pools to the thickness of a quarter of an inch, and the thermometer 
had fallen to 26°. The soil on the Elk Mountains is hard and dry ; 
on the ridge, rock is nowhere exposed to view, and only a few frag- 
ments of sandstone lie on the surface ; where they made their descent, 
however, and in the banks of the streamlets, they saw the rock finely 
developed in horizontal layers. The soil also was more sandy and of 
indifferent quality, and the grass in consequence is thin and occa- 
sionallv mixed with ferns. 

On the 16th, they encamped on the Elk river. The hunters were 
successful in killing a large elk, which was brought into camp and 
divided. Lieutenant Emmons, Mr. Agate, and Sergeant Stearns, 
with a Canadian as guide, left the encampment for Fort Umpqua, 
which was fourteen miles distant. The country for the first five 
miles was hilly, with scattered patches of pines, and it appears in 
places to be suitable for cultivation ; the rest of the distance was over 
a country much broken. The trail carried them over a succession of 
steep hills and through deep ravines, which at times appeared almost 
impassable to their broken-down beasts; four of which Lieutenant 
Emmons was taking with him to exchange. They did not reach the 
bank of the river opposite the fort, until between eight and nine o'clock. 
On the opposite side they perceived a fire, with some figures passing 
to and fro. By firing guns, and employing the stentorian voice of their 
guide, it was made known that our party was in want of two canoes 
to cross the river. The person in charge of the fort, Mr. Gangriere, 
had suffered much alarm, until he recognised the voice of Boileau, 
their guide, which had served to quiet him, and he at once directed 
the canoes to cross over; while these were sought for, the horses were 
hobbled, and the accoutrements made up, ready for transportation. 
Fort Umpqua was, like all those built in this country, enclosed by a 
tall line of pickets, with bastions at diagonal corners ; it is about two 
hundred feet square, and is situated more than one hundred and fifty 
yards from the river, upon an extensive plain ; it is garrisoned by five 
men, two women, and nine dogs, and contains a dwelling for the 
superintendent, as well as store-houses, and some smaller buildings 
for the officers and servants' apartments. 

At the time of the visit, an unusual number of Indians of the 
Umpqua tribe had collected around ; and Mr. Gangriere said, had 
shown a strong disposition to attack and burn the fort. He stated 
that hostility to the Company and the whites generally, arose from 


the losses they had met with from the small-pox, which they said 
had been introduced among them by the Company's parties under 
Michel and M'Kay ; and their anger was much increased by his 
refusal to supply them with ammunition. So critical did he con- 
sider the state of affairs, that he was about to despatch a messenger 
to Vancouver, to inform Dr. M'Laughlin of his situation ; he had not 
ventured to leave the fort for many days. 

Mr. Gangriere, besides entertaining Messrs. Emmons and Agate 
with tea, &c, gave them an account of the dangers they had to pass 
through. He informed them that he had long before heard of the 
intended journey, through the Indians, and that the news had passed 
on to all the tribes, who were collecting in vast numbers to oppose 
their passage, having sworn vengeance against all the whites, or those 
connected with them. He also stated that within a short time they 
had murdered two half-breeds who had been living peaceably among 
them, but who had been formerly employed by the Hudson Bay 
Company. By way of making his story more credible, he said that 
the Shaste Indians had sent him word that they were lying in wait 
for the whites when they should come. Large numbers of the 
Umpquas, according to him, had assembled at the usual crossing, to 
arrest the progress of the party, and he advised Lieutenant Emmons 
to cross the river at a place higher up. Mr. Gangriere furthermore 
thought their numbers so small that he was sure they would be all 

Lieutenant Emmons places the fort in latitude 43° 24' N. From 
the account given by Mr. Gangriere, the river pursues a northwesterly 
course, and runs a distance of thirty miles before it enters the sea. 
It is navigable from the ocean to the place where the Umpqua and 
Elk rivers unite, about three miles below the fort, for vessels drawing 
not more than six feet water. The mouth of the Umpqua offers no 
harbour for sea-going vessels, and has only nine feet water on its bar. 
Its entrance is very narrow, with low sands on the north and south 

The Umpqua country yields a considerable supply of furs, and 
principally of beaver, most of which are of small size. The regu- 
lations of the Company do not seem to be so strictly in force here 
as to the north of the Columbia, in relation to buying the small 
skins. These, I have understood, they refuse to purchase there ; and 
every Indian who is found with a small skin is refused supplies of 



ammunition, which has been found sufficient to prevent the killing of 
the young animals. Here they also obtain from the Indians some 
land and sea otter, deer, and bear skins. 

The agent at this post obligingly exchanged the horses, and sup- 
plied Lieutenant Emmons with some bear and deer skins, which 
several of the party were in want of to make into shirts and trousers; 
Dr. M'Laughlin having kindly sent Lieutenant Emmons, before he 
left the Willamette, a letter to his agent, desiring that he would afford 
the party all the assistance in his power. 

Lieutenant Emmons and Mr. Agate were accommodated in the 
store, with beds made of blankets. After arranging them, Mr. 
Gangriere wished them good night, locked the door, put the key in 
his pocket, and went to his lodgings. In the morning, at daylight, 
they were released. 

The day was cold, damp, and foggy, preventing them from seeing 
any distance from the fort. The river is here one hundred and . 
twenty yards wide, quite rapid, filled with rocks, and only navigable 
for canoes. The soil in the vicinity is very good, producing plentiful 
crops of corn, wheat, and potatoes. In the garden attached to the 
fort are grown all the common vegetables of the United States, with 
melons, both water and musk. Cattle are said to thrive well. 


Mr Agate made a sketch of one of the girls of the Umpqua tribe, 
of which the above wood-cut is a copy. 



In the morning it was found that a number of the Indians had 
departed, which relieved the agent's fears for himself, but increased 
those for our party. He was satisfied that it was too small in 
number to pass safely through, or overcome the resistance the Indians 
had prepared to oppose to them. 

Few of these men seem to know the reason of the whites meeting 
with so few mishaps in passing through an apparently hostile 
country ; and many deem that it is owing to their own skill and 
prowess. The truth is, that as soon as the Indians have traded with 
the whites, and become dependent on them for supplies, thenceforward 
they can be easily controlled. If disposed to be hostile, the fort at 
Umpqua would offer no resistance to their attack ; but they are aware 
that all their supplies of ammunition, tobacco, blankets, and other arti- 
cles of necessity, would be at once cut off; which would reduce them 
to great distress. They also know, that in all probability they would 
receive a severe chastisement for such aggression, from an armed force 
that would forthwith be sent among them. The self-interest of the 
Indians is, therefore, the true safeguard of the white traders. 

After effecting the exchange of horses, they discovered that two of 
those they had hobbled the evening before had escaped; after a 
three hours' search, they were finally found on the back-trail, several 
miles from the fort. About noon they set out on their return, 
having under their escort the Indian wife of the agent, who wished 
to visit the camp to consult the doctor. Their fresh horses enabled 
them to get over the bad road with less difficulty than they had found 
on their way to the fort. 

The party, in the mean time, had not been idle : preparations had 
been made for the probable encounter with the Indians ; cartridges 
filled, and balls run, to the amount of fifty rounds apiece; the elk and 
deer meat had been jerked over a slow fire, and put into packs for 

The examination of the country surrounding the camp, engaged 
the attention of the naturalists; many seeds and plants were collected. 
A species of oak, new to our gentlemen, was first seen here : in its size 
and appearance, it resembles that of the Willamette, excepting the 
lobes of the leaves, which have a spire at their termination; and the 
acorns, which are larger and more deeply set in the cup. A yellow 
honeysuckle was also found on the banks of the river. 

The bed of the river is here composed of sandstone and clay-slate ; 
a few hundred yards higher up the stream, the slate disappears, and 


beyond it is found basalt. The basaltic hills are only half a mile 
distant from the sandstone range which they had just passed. A few 
nodules of limestone, similar to that found around Astoria, occur in 
the shale. This rock contains a few fossils, and the sandstone exhibits 
some indistinct impressions of vegetables, and seams of coal or lignite. 
Mr. Dana, however, is of opinion that it is not probable a large deposit 
of the last-named mineral will be found here. 

Many friendly Indians had come into the camp, who reported that 
the hostile tribes were preparing to attack them and dispute their 
passage. Some alarm seems to have existed among the trappers, 
which manifested itself in sullenness, accompanied with threats of 
leaving the party. The ostensible reason for their dissatisfaction was 
that they were not permitted to fire their pieces at all times about the 
camp. Their real motive was the hope of retarding our party until it 
should be overtaken by the Company's trappers under Michel, who 
were about sixty in number. Boileau's fears had been so worked upon 
that he determined to leave his wife at Fort Umpqua until Michel 
should pass by. As usual, they suffered some detention in the 
morning from the straying of their horses. 

Soon after leaving their camp, Corporal Hughes was taken with 
such a violent chill, that he was unable to proceed. The doctor, 
with a party under Mr. Colvocoressis, waited until the chill had 
subsided, and then rejoined the party. 

Their guide now expressed to Lieutenant Emmons his desire to 
leave the party, on the plea of solicitude for his little child, but, in 
reality, because they were now about entering into the hostile country. 
After some talk, however, his fears were quieted, and he consented to 
go on. 

During the day they passed over some basaltic hills, and then 
descended to another plain, where the soil was a fine loam. The 
prairies were on fire across their path, and had without doubt been 
lighted by the Indians to distress our party. The fires were by no 
means violent, the flames passing but slowly over the ground, and 
being only a few inches high. 

They encamped on Billey's Creek, named after a man who had 
been killed here by a grisly bear, whilst passing through with a 
party belonging to the Company. Large game was seen in abun- 
dance, and Guardipii brought in an elk as large as a good-sized 

On the 19th, Burrows and his squaw, who had the night before 


made up their minds to leave the party, determined to continue 
with it. Lieutenant Emmons, in order to avoid any chance of an 
encounter, now deviated from the direct road, and took the upper ford 
or pass across the Umpqua, as he had every reason to believe that 
the Indians had made preparations at the lower one to obstruct his 
passage. About noon they reached the north fork of the Umpqua, 
and succeeded in fording it without accident, though they expe- 
rienced some difficulty in consequence of its rapid current and un- 
even slippery bottom. Its breadth is about eighty yards, between 
banks from fifteen to twenty feet high; its depth varies from one to 
five feet. 

As many of the party were very unwell, Lieutenant Emmons 
determined to halt, and the party encamped in a beautiful oak grove. 
With the geological features of the country, the botany had also 
changed; and this was also found to be the case with the animals. 
A new shrub was met with, resembling the shrubby geranium of 
Hawaii ; a beautiful laurel (Laurus ptolemii), with fragrant leaves ; 
a Ceanothus, with beautiful, sky-blue flowers of delightful fragrance ; 
a tobacco plant (Nicotiana), of fetid odour, with white flowers. For 
further information, I must refer to the Botanical Report. 

On the Umpqua the first grisly bears were seen; here also the 
white-tailed deer was lost sight of, and the black-tailed species met 
with. Elk were seen in great numbers. 

Two Indians made their appearance on the opposite bank of the 
river, and were desirous of coming into the camp ; but deeming that 
their object was to spy out the strength of the party, it was thought 
more prudent not to permit this; they were accordingly motioned 
off. At this encampment, the horses fared badly ; for it became 
necessary to fetter them to prevent them from being stolen, as these 
Indians are notorious thieves. 

On the 20th, they resumed their route at an early hour, and passed, 
during the day, through valleys and over narrow plains, that afforded 
good pasturage for cattle. In the course of two hours, they reached 
the south fork of the Umpqua, which is similar in character to the 
northern fork. 

During this day's ride, they saw one grisly bear, and had an 
encounter with another. On the first being perceived, chase was 
given, but he escaped, and while pursuing him, the second was seen. 
He was of large size, and approached within one hundred yards of the 
party, in their usual slow pace. As they came nearer to him, he 


raised himself on his hind quarters, and looked, with a cool indif- 
ference, upon the party. Mr. Peale dismounted and fired at him, 
upon which he ran off, under a shower of balls from the rest of the 
party, many of which hit him. They did not, however, succeed in 
killing him, and he finally made his escape. 

They encamped on the south branch of the Umpqua river, after 
having passed along its eastern bank for some miles. 

On the 21st, their route along the bank of the stream was through 
a country of the same description as before. They were approaching 
gradually the Umpqua Mountains, and stopped at the place where 
it is usual to encamp, previous to making the ascent. During the 
day they passed several deserted Indian huts, and met with some 
Indians, who were desirous of joining the camp. They declared 
themselves friendly to the whites, and were anxious to obtain powder 
and ball, which, however, were not furnished them. They were 
armed with guns, bows, and arrows, and were very particular in their 
inquiries about the time that Michel's party was to be expected. 

During the night, an armed Indian was found lurking about the 
camp. He was recognised as an acquaintance by Warfields, one of 
the trappers ; and on expressing his desire to accompany the party 
to California, permission to do so was given him by Lieutenant 

It now became evident that the Indians were on the watch to take 
advantage of any want of vigilance. The trappers had all become 
contented, and seemed quite willing to do their duty. They well 
knew that they had now entered a hostile country, and that it would 
be dangerous for any one to straggle or desert. 

On the 22d, they began their route across the Umpqua Mountains. 
The ascent was at first gradual and easy ; the path was quite narrow, 
and lined with dense underbrush, through which they were at times 
obliged to cut their way. The party were obliged to follow each 
other, and formed a line of nearly a mile in length. The path was 
continually rising and falling, until they came to a steep bank, ascend- 
ing very abruptly to the height of one thousand feet. This occasioned 
many of the pack-horses to stumble, but without any material acci- 
dent. On the top was a small grassy plain, along which they 
travelled for a short distance, after which they descended rapidly 
into a valley, where water was found. The most difficult part of the 
day's journey was the ascent from this valley, to effect which they 

vol. v. 62 


toiled for three hours. The woods had been lately on fire here, and 
many of the trees were still ignited. This fire had evidently been 
lighted by the Indians for the purpose of causing the trees to fall 
across the path ; they had also tied some of the branches together, and 
interlocked others. Every thing was charred, and the more annoying 
on that account, as our people were completely covered with charcoal 
dust. From the summit of this ridge, a view is had of a confused 
mass of abrupt ridges, between which lie small and secluded valleys. 
The whole range is thickly wooded, with a variety of trees, among 
which are the Pinus Lambertiana, (the first time it had been met 
with,) Oaks, Arbutus, Prunus, Cornus, Yews, Dogwood, Hazel, Spi- 
rsea, and Castanea. In different directions, dense smoke was seen 
arising, denoting that these savages were on the watch for the party, 
and making signals to muster their forces for an attack, if a favour- 

© O 7 

able opportunity should offer. 

The Pinus Lambertiana, of Douglass, was not found quite so large 
as described by him. The cones, although fourteen inches long, 
were small in circumference. 

They encamped on the plain of the Shaste country, which is 
divided by the mountains which they had passed, from the Umpqua 
Valley. The greatest elevation of those mountains, by the boiling 
temperature of water, was one thousand seven hundred and fifty feet. 
On reaching the encampment, it was discovered that Mr. Peale had 
met with the loss of a considerable part of his luggage, in consequence 
of the pack having been torn open by the bushes. It was therefore 
resolved to remain half a day at this place, in order to send back and 
seek for it, as well as to give the horses time to recover from the 
fatigue they had undergone. The 23d was therefore passed quietly, 
while a small division went back to search for the missing articles ; 
but the only one which they succeeded in finding, was the camera 
lucida. Some Indians were met with, who no doubt had picked up 
all the rest of the missing articles ; but as their language was unin- 
telligible to the guides, no questions could be asked, nor any informa- 
tion received from them. 

The rocks in this neighbourhood are here and there intersected 
with veins of quartz, and masses of that mineral are found strewn 
over the whole country. The soil that lies above the talcose rock 
is gravelly, and generally of a red brick-colour. Our botanists 
collected, during the day, many seeds. In the way of plants, they 
found the bulb which is used in California in the place of soap. 


Their journey was resumed at an early hour on the 24th. The 
route passed through thickets, and in some places they discovered the 
fresh track of Indians, in searching for whom they discovered three 
squaws, who had been left when the others fled. It thus appeared 
that the Indians were watching them closely, and it was certain that 
in this country, a very small number of them would have been able 
to cut off the whole party without much injury to themselves, if they 
had possessed any courage. 

The greater part of the day's journey was over undulating hills ; 
and after making a distance of twenty-three miles, they encamped on 
Young's creek. This is a run of water, a few yards wide and a foot 
or less deep ; it may be traced for a long distance by the trees which 
border it. They had now reached the country of the Klamet Indians, 
better known as the Rogues or Rascals, which name they have ob- 
tained from the hunters, from the many acts of villany they have 
practised. The place of encampment was only a short distance from 
that where Dr. Bailey was defeated. 

On the 25th, they continued their journey over a country resem- 
bling that traversed the day before, with the exception that the wood 
was not so thick. The Pinus Lambertiana was more common ; the 
trees of this species were not beyond the usual size of the pine tribe, 
but their cones were seen fifteen inches in length. Some of the sugar 
produced by this tree was obtained : it is of a sweet taste, with a 
slightly bitter and piny flavour ; it resembles manna, and is obtained 
by the Indians by burning a cavity in -the tree, whence it exudes. 
It is gathered in large quantities. This sugar is a powerful cathartic, 
and affected all the party who partook of it ; yet it is said that it is 
used as a substitute for sugar among the trappers and hunters. The 
soil passed over was loose and light, approaching a sandy loam. 

In the afternoon they entered on the plains of Rogues' or Tootoo- 
tutnas river, and encamped on its banks. This is a beautiful stream, 
upwards of one hundred yards in width, with a rapid current, flowing 
over a gravelly bottom at the rate of three miles an hour : it abounds 
in fish, on which the Indians principally subsist ; the banks are low 
and overgrown with bushes for some distance from the stream ; the 
soil is poor and sandy. Two or three hundred yards from the river, 
there is a sudden rise of ten feet, and another at the same distance 
beyond, from the last of which the land rises into hills from six 
hundred to a thousand feet in height. On these hills the soil changes 
to granitic sand. 


Inass, the Indian hunter, being in search of game at some dis- 
tance from the camp, killed a deer, and while in the act of skinning 
it, was surprised by a party of Indians, who shot a flight of arrows 
over him ; he at once sprang to his horse, seized his rifle, and, ac- 
cording to his own account, killed one of them. The utmost haste 
was necessary to effect his escape, and he left his game behind. 

Towards night, a canoe with two Indians approached the camp, 
which they were not suffered to enter. These canoes were dug out 
and square at each end, and quite rude. 

In the morning they found within their camp an Indian basket 
with roots, which they supposed to have been left there during the 
night by some Indian whose curiosity was so great as to induce him 
to peril his life to satisfy it. 

The 26th, they passed along the banks of the Rogues' river, which 
runs on in a westerly direction ; upon it the Indians were seen spear- 
ing salmon from their canoes. 

Within a short distance of their camping-place, they came upon a 
party of about fifty Indians, who seemed to be surprised that their 
hiding-place had been discovered. They appeared to be unarmed, 
and looked very innocent. 

During the day, their course was northeasterly, along the banks of 
the river. About a mile from the camp, granite of a light colour and 
a fine grain, that would serve as a beautiful building-stone, was seen 
in places. As they proceeded, the valley of the river was encroached 
upon by the mountains, and the ground became very much broken. 
The river, also, flowed in rapids, owing to the same cause, and 
its banks became projecting and jagged rocks. A place was pointed 
out where a former party had been attacked and defeated with great 
loss, in consequence of the Indiaiis being able to conceal themselves 
behind the rocks. Our party found no one to oppose their passage. 
In the afternoon, they reached the forks, and took the southern 
one, which brought them to Turner's encampment, where his party 
were attacked, and most of them massacred. They had allowed 
the Indians to enter the camp in numbers, when they suddenly 
rose upon the whites, who were but nine in all, and were, at the 
time of the attack, attending to the horses. Two of the party were 
killed immediately. Turner, who was a strong athletic man, was 
seated by the fire when the fray began; he snatched up a brand, 
and defended himself, dealing destruction around him, until his wife 
brought him his rifle, with which he killed several. A large fallen 


tree lies near the spot, at one end of which Turner stood, while the 
Indians occupied the other, and whence, assisted by his wife, he 
made such havoc among them, that they at last retreated, and allowed 
Turner and his wounded companions to make good their retreat to 
the north. They returned to Willamette with the loss of all their 
horses and property. There are still human bones, and among them 
parts of skulls, that mark the spot where this deadly strife took place. 

Two Indians came into the camp, who were said to be friendly, 
having often visited the Company's parties. One of them had a kind 
of coat of mail, to protect himself from arrows. It resembled a strait- 
jacket, and only covered the body, leaving the arms free. It was 
made of sticks as large as a man's thumb, woven together so closely 
as to resist the force of arrows. It consisted of two parts, fastened 
together with shoulder-straps at the top, and secured around the waist 
at the bottom. 

On the opposite bank of the Rogues' river some Indians were 
seen at a fire ; but on the discovery of our party, they removed 
farther from the river. Shortly afterwards, a small dog belonging 
to them came down to the river bank, when a man, by the name of 
Wood, took his rifle, and, contrary to the orders and rules of the 
camp, shot it. Lieutenant Emmons had discharged the man a few 
days before for some misbehaviour, and he would have been turned 
out of camp, if there had been any place of safety for him. It was 
now sufficiently evident why the Indians had removed immediately 
out of gunshot. During the night, the Indians collected within hear- 
ing of the camp, and had a war-dance. 

Most of the gentlemen of the party had suffered exceedingly from 
attacks of the ague ; the chills were very violent while they lasted, 
and several were obliged to stop for an hour or two during their con- 
tinuance. This became a source of uneasiness to the whole party ; 
for it was necessary to pass on rapidly, and not delay the main body 
more than was unavoidably necessary : the sudden and great atmo- 
spheric changes which constantly occurred, tended to aggravate, if 
they did not produce, these attacks : the thermometer during the day 
frequently standing above 80°, and at night nearly as low as the 
freezing point. 

On the 27th, they proceeded along the bank of the river. The 
Indians were observed to be gathering, and were heard to utter yells, 
on the opposite bank. After a while, a large band of them were 
seen near a rocky point which encroaches upon the river, and where 

vol. v. 63 


the path came within the reach of their arrows. The party now had 
strong reason for apprehending an attack; Lieutenant Emmons, there- 
fore, took such precautions as were necessary to clear the path from 
any dangers, by throwing a detachment on foot in advance of the 
main party. Here the high perpendicular bank confined the path to 
very narrow limits, rendering a passing party liable to be seriously 
molested by an attack from Indians, who might conceal themselves 
from view among the rocks on the opposite side of the rapid and 
narrow river. No attack, however, took place, as the Indians per- 
ceived the disposition that was made to prevent it. After the party 
had gone by and were beyond rifle-shot, they again made their ap- 
pearance, and began to utter taunts, which were coolly listened to, 
except by the females of Mr. Walker's family. The squaws (wives 
of the hunters) had prepared themselves for an attack, apparently with 
as much unconcern as their husbands. Michel La Framboise with 
his party had been twice assaulted at this place. A few miles beyond 
they left the banks of the Rogues' river, taking a more easterly route, 
over a rolling prairie which is bounded by low hills, resembling the 
scenery of the Willamette Valley. The soil, in some few places, was 
good ; but generally gravelly and barren. On the plain, some Indians 
were seen at a distance, on horseback, who fled like wild animals the 
moment they discovered the party. Some of the horses began now to 
give out, and they were obliged to abandon them. In the afternoon, 
they encamped on Beaver creek, so named by Lieutenant Emmons, 
from the number of those animals that were seen engaged in building 

An antelope was killed, which was one of four that the hunters had 
seen ; it was of a dun and white colour, and its hair was remarkably 
soft. The Indians take this animal by exciting its curiosity : for this 
purpose they conceal themselves in a bush near its feeding-grounds, 
and making a rustling noise, soon attract its attention, when it is led 
to advance towards the place of concealment, until the arrow pierces 
it. If there are others in company, they will frequently remain with 
the wounded until they are all in like manner destroyed. This 
species of antelope, according to the hunters, only inhabit the prairie, 
being seldom seen even in the open wooded country. The flavour of 
the meat was thought to be superior to that of the deer. 

A species of rabbit or hare was seen in great numbers on the high 
prairie ; their large ears had somewhat the appearance of wings. The 
Indian mode of capturing them is by constructing a small enclosure 


of brush, open on one side, and having a small hole through the 
opposite side, into which they are driven. 

It was observed too that many of the pine trees had their bark 
pierced in many places, with cylindrical holes about an inch and a 
half deep. In some of these an acorn, with its cup end inwards, was 
inserted, which was supposed to be the provision stored away by 
some species of woodpecker. 

On the 28th, they advanced to the foot of the Boundary Range, 
where they encamped. The soil and country resembled that passed 
over the day before, and the wood was also of oak and pine, but none 
of the Lambertiana. On the hills granite is seen to crop out, and in 
the distance was observed a singular isolated rock, which stands like 
a tower on the top of the ridge, rising above the surrounding forest 
with a bare and apparently unbroken surface. This peak, according 
to Lieutenant Emmons's observations, is on the parallel of 42° N. ; 
from its top an extensive country is overlooked, and as soon as the 
party came in sight of it a dense column of smoke arose, which was 
thought to be a signal made by the Klamet Indians, to the Shaste 
tribe, of the approach of our party.* 

On the way, they met an old squaw, with a large firebrand in her 
hand, with which she had just set the grass and bushes on fire ; when 
surprised, she stood motionless, and appeared to be heedless of any 
thing that was passing around her. She was partly clothed in 
dressed deer-skins, one around her waist and another thrown over 
her shoulders, both fastened with a girdle, and having long fringes 
made of thongs of deer-skins braided ; there were no other Indians in 
sight. The party encamped in a valley among the hills, in which 
were found many boulders of granite and syenite. 

The hostility of the Indians, and their having been successful in 
stealing the horses of former parties, induced Lieutenant Emmons to 
have an unusually strict guard kept during the night, f 

On the 29th, they set out to ascend the Boundary Mountains, 
which separate Mexico from the United States. It is a range of 
hills from twelve hundred to two thousand feet high, some of whose 
summits have a mural front; the features of all the ridges wear a 

* This I have designated as Emmons's Peak, after the officer who had charge of this 
party, as a memorial of the value ol his services in conducting it safely through this 
hostile country. 

f The Klamet Indians took the pains to send word to Fort Umpqua, that they were 
prepared to kill any whites who should attempt to pass through their country. 


basaltic appearance, though some of them are of sandstone, and 
contain fossils. As they ascended, they every moment expected to 
be attacked, particularly at a steep and narrow path, where a single 
horse has barely room to pass. The man Tibbats was one of a party 
of fifteen, which was defeated here by the Indians, some three years 
before. One of their number was killed, and two died of their 
wounds on the Umpqua, whither they were obliged to retreat, 
although they had forced the Indians back with great loss. He 
showed great anxiety to take his revenge on them, but no oppor- 
tunity offered, for the party had no other difficulty than scrambling 
up a steep path, and through thick shrubbery, to reach the top. 
Not an Indian was to be seen, although they had evidently made 
some preparations to attack the party ; the ground had been but 
recently occupied, some large trees felled across the path by burning, 
and many other impediments placed to prevent the party from ad- 
vancing. The whole mountain side was admirably adapted for an 

At the summit of this range, they got their first view of the 
Klamet Valley. It was beneath them, walled on both sides by high 
basaltic hills, one beyond another. Mount Shaste, a high, snowy 
peak, of a sugar-loaf form, which rose through the distant haze, bore 
southward, forty-five miles distant. They descended on the south 
side, and encamped on the banks of Otter creek, within a mile of the 
Klamet river. 

This ridge divides the waters flowing to the north and south. The 
soil seemed to change for the worse, becoming more sandy. 

In consequence of the illness of some of the party, it was concluded 
to remain stationary on the 30th : the others made excursions around 
the camp. The country they saw was a broad prairie valley, dotted 
with oaks and pines, with a serpentine line of trees marking the 
edges of the streams till they are lost in the distance. This valley 
lies in the midst of hills, clothed with a forest of evergreens, and 
through this the waters of the Klamet flow, passing beyond it, 
through a narrow valley on the west. The most remarkable object 
in this place is the isolated conical peak, which rises immediately 
from the level plain to the height of one thousand feet, and is desti- 
tute of trees, except on its summit. 

Near their camp was the remains of an Indian hut, which had 
been constructed of bent sticks : this is represented at the end of the 


Lieutenant Emmons, during the day, obtained both dip and in- 
tensity observations. The thermometer, in the shade, rose to 100°. 
At dawn the following morning, it was 32°. The hunters did not 
succeed in procuring any game. 

On the 1st of October, they were enabled to take an early start. 
The weather was, however, sultry, and the atmosphere again so 
smoky as to shut out the Shaste Peak from view. In about two 
hours they crossed the Klamet river, where it was about eighty yards 
wide, with low banks, destitute of bushes. It was about four feet 
deep, with a pebbly bottom. Both above and below the ford, there 
were rapids ; the volume of water was about equal to that of the 
Umpqua. From the appearance of its banks, it is subject to overflow. 
The prairie, after crossing the river, became dry and barren, from 
which a solitary bute, by which term these hills are known, occasion- 
ally rose up, from one to five hundred feet high. These are peculiar 
to this country. Heaps of volcanic rocks, consisting of large masses 
of grayish or reddish porphyritic lava, in blocks of from one to ten 
cubic feet in size, were lying on the surface in disorderly piles. 
Beyond, to the eastward, the lava heaps became still more numerous. 

They encamped on the southern branch of the Klamet river, 
which is a beautiful, clear, and rapid stream, where they met with a 
small spot of grass, the only one they had seen during the day. Two 
Indians were discovered on the look-out from one of the lava heaps. 
Lieutenant Emmons, taking the guide with him, succeeded in pre- 
venting their escape, and was enabled to approach them. They were 
at first under great fear, but soon became reconciled, and sold two 
salmon they had with them, which they had taken in the river with 
their fish-spears. The salmon were of a whitish colour, and not at 
all delicate to the taste ; their tails were worn off, and the fish other- 
wise bruised and injured. Many salmon are caught in all these 
rivers. The Indians were thought to be better-looking than those 
before seen about the villages, and were quite naked, excepting the 
maro. After having disposed of their fish, they were willing to sell 
their bows and quiver with arrows, which they had hid in the grass. 
These, which were all neatly made, were bought for a knife. They 
then pointed out some more of their tribe, who were seated on the 
side of a distant hill, and were very desirous that they might be 
permitted to come into the camp ; but permission was refused them. 
Here our gentlemen saw large bundles of rushes, made up in the 

vol. v. 64 


form of a lashed-up hammock, which the Indians are said to use 
instead of canoes. 

On the 2d, they travelled all day over a rolling prairie, without 
water; the low ground was incrusted with salts, notwithstanding 
which, the land was better than that passed over the day before. 
Some patches of spireea and dogwood were met with, and a better 
growth of grass ; although it was still very scanty. 

Large herds of antelopes were seen, but none of them were killed ; 
the hunters also recognised the mountain sheep, which are of a dark 
colour, much larger than the common sheep, and having large horns. 
Towards the afternoon they came to some holes containing water; 
and such had been the suffering of some of the animals from thirst, 
that they rushed into them with their packs, and it required much 
labour to extricate them, for which purpose it was necessary to use 
the lasso. About midday they left the Klamet Valley, which is far 
inferior to any portion of the country they had passed through; and 
as they crossed the hills which enclose it, they found that the out- 
cropping rocks were composed of a dark green serpentine. They 
encamped a little beyond the hills, and in the vicinity of their 
camp, boulders of a coarse syenite, forming the bed of the creek, 
and lying along its course, were seen. The hornblend crystals of 
the latter rock were often two inches long, and were set in a white 
granular paste of feldspar. 

At their camp they were visited by a party of Shaste Indians, who 
were allowed to enter it, and for some time there was a brisk trade 
for their bows and arrows. These Indians are a fine-lookino- race, 
being much better proportioned than those more to the northward, 
and their features more regular. One of the boys was extremely 
good-looking. He had a bright black eye, and pleasing expression 
of countenance ; he was clad in dressed deer-skins, over his shoulders 
and about his body, but his legs-were bare. They all wore their black 
hair hanging down to their shoulders; and they do not compress their 
heads. Mr. Agate had much difficulty in getting them to stand still 
for the purpose of having their portraits taken, and gave them a 
miniature of his mother to look at, hoping that this would allay their 
fears, but it had a contrary effect, as they now believed that he de- 
sired to put some enchantment upon them, and thought that he was 
the medicine-man of the party. 

They obtained an exhibition of the archery of the Indians by 


putting up a button at twenty yards distance, which one of them hit 
three times out of five : the successful marksman was rewarded with 
it and a small piece of tobacco. They use these bows with such dex- 
terity as to kill fish, and lanch their arrows with such force, that one 
of the gentlemen remarks he would as leave be shot at with a musket 
at the distance of one hundred yards, as by one of these Indians with 
his bow and arrow. Their bows and arrows are beautifully made : 
the former are of yew and about three feet long; they are flat, and 
an inch and a half to two inches wide : these are backed very neatly 
with sinew, and painted. The arrows are upwards of thirty inches 
long ; some of them were made of a close-grained wood, a species of 
spiraea, while others were of reed ; they were feathered for a length of 
from five to eight inches, and the barbed heads were beautifully 
wrought from obsidian : the head is inserted in a grooved piece, from 
three to five inches long, and is attached to the shaft by a socket ; 
this, when it penetrates, is left in the wound when the shaft is with- 
drawn ; a very shallow blood-channel is sometimes cut in the shaft. 
In shooting the arrow, the bow is held horizontally, braced by the 
thumb of the left hand, and drawn by the thumb and three first 
fingers of the right hand. To obviate the disadvantage of drawing 


to the breast, the chest is thrown backwards ; on discharging the 
arrow, they throw out the right leg and stand on the left. Their 
quivers are made of deer, raccoon, or wild-cat skin ; these skins 
are generally whole, being left open at the tail end. 

A disease was observed among them which had the appearance of 
the leprosy, although the doctor did not recognise it as such, one of 
the six had wasted away to almost a skeleton from its effects. 

The old man was pointed out as the father-in-law of Michel La 
Framboise, who, as I have said before, has a wife in every tribe. 

As to dress, they can scarcely be said to wear any except a mantle 
of deer or wolf skin. A few of them had deer-skins belted around 
their waists with a highly ornamented girdle. 

On the 3d, they continued their route up the plain, and soon 
reached its termination, after which they entered the forest on the 
slopes of the Shaste Range ; the path was rendered very broken and 
uneven by the knolls of trachyte which were seen in every direc- 
tion. On arriving at the top of the ridge, they had a magnificent 
view of the snowy peak of Shaste, with a nearer and intermediate 
one destitute of snow, with tall pines growing nearly to its top. 
"Where the surface could be seen, it appeared as though it was 


covered with large blocks of rock: its conical shape proved its volcanic 
character, although no crater could be perceived. 

The Shaste Peak is a magnificent sight, rising as it does to a 
lofty height, its steep sides emerging from the mists which envelope 
its base, and seem to throw it off to an immense distance; its cleft 
summit gave proof of its former active state as a volcano. The snow 
lies in patches on the sides and part of the peak of this mountain ; 
but there is a great difference in the position of its snow-line from 
that of Mount Hood or St. Helen's. Its height is said to be fourteen 
thousand three hundred and ninety feet, but Lieutenant Emmons 
thinks it is not so high. After passing this ridge, they soon met the 
head waters of the Sacramento, flowing to the southward, and their 
camp was pitched on the banks of another stream, that came from 
the Shaste Peak. 

Our party now had their prospects somewhat brightened, having 
passed safely through the country of the " Bad Indians." I cannot 
but regret that they should at this time have been found in so hostile 
a state that it rendered it not only prudent, but necessary for the 
safety of the party, that all intercourse should be avoided, and con- 
sequently one of the objects of the Expedition, that of acquiring some 
knowledge of their actual condition, numbers, &c, was frustrated. 

On the 4th, they had fairly entered into the district of pines : again 
some of the Lambertiana were measured, and found to be eighteen feet 
in circumference, with cones sixteen inches long. 

They encamped on Destruction river, which runs from this moun- 
tain range toward the south, in a place where they found food for 
their horses and water in abundance. The air was delightful ; the 
forest protected them from the rays of the sun, and besides this the 
game was plentiful. Near the encampment, in a northwest direction, 
was a mountain ridge shooting up in sharp conical points and needle- 
shaped peaks, having a precipitous front. One of these peaks almost 
overhangs the valley, presenting a gray surface of naked rock two 
thousand feet high. The valley which adjoins is strewn over with 
boulders of white granite similar to that already described. From 
this there is little doubt that the ridge is formed of the same material. 
At meridian they reached a small valley bordering on the Destruction 
river, where they found a chalybeate spring. The water oozes out 
from the rocks, bubbling up freely, and is highly charged with car- 
bonic acid gas. In taste it was found agreeable to both the riders and 
the animals. Its temperature was 50°, that of the air being 75° ; 


about a gallon per minute is discharged. Around it there is a thick 
deposit of iron rust, and a few yards distant a small pond, the bottom 
of which was also coated with a ferruginous deposit. The rocks in 
the vicinity of the spring were of the trachytic and slightly cellular 
lava, which is speckled with grains of feldspar. The hunters said 
that the spring was in all respects similar to that on the Bear creek, 
which empties into the Youta Lake, known in the Rocky Mountains 
as the Soda Spring. Mr. Dana found some difficulty in accounting 
for this emission of carbonic acid, as no limestone was found or 
known to exist in the neighbourhood ; yet he is inclined to believe, 
that it may be owing to the decomposition of sulphuret of iron. For 
further information upon this subject, I would refer to his Geological 

On this night they had a severe storm from the westward, and 
occasionally heard the crash produced by the falling of large pines. 

The character of the country had now changed, and afforded a 
new and more extended botanical field, as well as new geological 
features. The general tendency of the ridges is north and south, 
but the whole may be classed as a series of valleys and hills thrown 
in all positions. The hills are, for the greater part, covered with soil, 
when it can find any place of deposit ; and all are richly clothed with 
vegetation. The principal timber consists of pines and oaks ; and 
there are many smaller plants, of which the flowers must be abun- 
dant in the proper season. As it was, our botanists reaped something 
of a harvest; for information respecting which, the Botanical Report 
is referred to. 

They continued to follow Destruction river until the 9th, when it 
was joined by a stream from the northward and eastward, which was 
taken to be the northeast branch of Pitt river : it was larger than 
the stream they had been following for the last few days, and is sup- 
posed by some to take its rise in Pitt Lake ; but this I very much 
doubt, as it lies on the other side of the Cascade or Californian 
Range, and the two united form the Sacramento. 

Though I have dignified these two streams with the name of river, 
it must not be supposed that they are really such, in our acceptation 
of the word. The party are generally of the opinion that they should 
be called creeks. 

They encamped late in the evening near a small rivulet, to the 
westward of the Sacramento. They had much difficulty with their 
horses, which had now become tired out. For this reason it became 

vol.. v. 65 


necessary to abandon one of them, as he was unable to proceed any 

On the 10th they made an early start, and left the mountains. 
The width of the range they had passed through was upwards of one 
hundred miles. At one place Guardipii, their guide, lost his way; 
but on applying to Warfields' Indian wife, she pointed out the trail 
without difficulty. 

They had now passed into the Sacramento Valley, and had met 
with some of the Kinkla tribe of Indians, who were known to be 
friendly, and they became relieved from anxiety. The botanical 
character of the landscape changed as suddenly : instead of firs, pines, 
&c, they found themselves among sycamores, oaks, and cotton-wood 
trees. The oaks bear a variety of acorns, which are equally the food 
of the bears and the Indians. The prairie bordering the Sacramento 
at this place is about fifty feet below the upper prairie, and continues 
for many miles very regularly on the same level ; the latter falling 
into it by a sloping bank. 


In the evening the camp was visited by many of these friendly 
and docile Indians, who made themselves quite easy, laughing and 
joking, and appeared rather to look upon the party as beneath 
them. They had some resemblance to the Shaste Indians ; most of 
them were naked ; the others had a piece of deer-skin thrown over 
their shoulders ; their faces were marked with an expression of good 
humour. Some of them wore their hair long, extending below the 
neck and divided from the top ; in others, and most commonly, it was 
drawn back and gathered in a bunch behind, where it was fastened 
with a string of deer-sinew ; their ears were bored, and a short string 


inserted with a few beads ; the face was usually painted, the upper 
part of the cheek in the form of a triangle, with a blue-black sub- 
stance, mixed with some shiny particles that resembled pulverized 

The Indians were darker as to colour than the northern tribes, and 
their general appearance resembled that of the South Sea islanders. 
Their food consists principally of fish and acorns ; of the latter they 
make a kind of black cake by shelling the acorns, drying them in 
the sun, and then grinding them through stones to a meal, which 
they mix with a little water and arbutus-berries, which gives it a 
flavour ; it is then formed into cakes about two inches thick, when it 
is wrapped in leaves and baked ; it is quite black and eats like cheese : 
these acorns are quite palatable in the raw state. The seeds of the 
different genus of pine are also eaten, particularly one that is pecu- 
liar to California. The arbutus-berry is in great plenty, and is also 
ground into meal ; they have also many grapes. The game had also 
become very abundant, in consequence of the quantities of food, which 
attracts them as well as the Indians, and many antelopes and deer 
were observed. Large flocks of California partridges and geese were 
also seen : among the birds was a new species of magpie. 

None of the Indians but men visited the camp, the women being 
left at their rancheria. Our party went to visit it ; it was about 
half a mile below the camp, and consisted of some rude huts, built of 
poles, and divided by coarse mats into a number of small apartments. 
The whole was surrounded by a brush fence, which served for a 

The huts were small in size and devoid of comfort or cleanliness. 
It was remarked that the women were much inferior to the men in 
personal appearance, looking careworn and wrinkled, probably from 
hard work ; for on them seems to depend the preparation of all their 
winter's supply of food, at which they seemed to be constantly en- 
gaged ; while the men are to be seen lounging about, or engaged in 
games of hazard. They are, however, during the season, engaged in 
taking salmon, either in weirs, or by spearing : the former method 
has been described already ; for the latter they use a long forked spear 
or fish-gig, which has a sharp deer's horn to confine the two prongs, 
and is attached to the spear by a small lanyard, which in entering 
the fish slips off, and retains its hold. 

At the rancheria, several dances were performed ; and it was ob- 
served that many of the women were tattooed on their arms and body. 


On reaching the Sacramento, it had been recommended to Lieu- 
tenant Emmons to procure canoes, if possible, either by purchase or 
constructing them, in consequence of the belief that both his party 
and the animals would have been nearly if not quite worn out. No 
canoes, however, were to be found, and, as has been seen in my 
account of that river, none were used by the Indians. Neither could 
any timber be obtained without much detention, of which to con- 
struct one. It was, therefore, necessary for him to keep on to Captain 
Suter's, where he expected to find boats to take them to the ship as 
soon as possible. From what Lieutenant Emmons could learn, there 
was no difficulty in proceeding in canoes from this place, though 
there would have been some obstacles to surmount, particularly the 
fish-weirs, which exist below. 

On the 11th, they took leave of the friendly Indians, who had, 
during the night, been as watchful as themselves, passing the word 
among their look-outs, as if they had been regular sentinels. The 
party proceeded down the western bank of the Sacramento, over a 
rolling prairie country, which they characterize as the most worthless 
they had met with. The soil consists of gravel, coarse pebbles, and 
large stones, mixed with sand. They frequently met the beds of 
streams three hundred yards wide, which intersect this part of the 
country, the pebbles in which are chiefly composed of jasper, or 
milky quartz, with a few of basalt, pudding-stone, and pieces of slate. 
They made this day, twenty-five miles — the longest day's ride on the 

On the 12th, Lieutenant Emmons determined to ford the river, as 
it was doubtful whether he would have so good an opportunity 
lower down. Inass, one of the hunters, was found sitting -beside 
his horse, on the opposite side of the ford, loaded with the meat and 
skin of a large grisly bear which he had killed. The river was 
about three feet deep, and two hundred yards wide. They stopped 
at a place known among the- hunters as Bear-camp, from the 
number of grisly bears found here. Five of them were shot the 
same afternoon, with three deer, which were seen feeding within sight 
of the camp, all in excellent condition. The country on the east side 
of the river was more level than on the west, and the soil was thought 
to be better. Few plants, however, were seen, in consequence of the 
country having been burned over. 

The country continued much the same until, on the 15th, they 
came in sight of the Prairie Butes, a regular collection of hills, rising 




out of the level plain like islands from the water. These are very 
deceptive in height, and may be seen from a great distance. The 
party encamped on a small creek, called by the trappers the Little 
Fork of the Butes. The hunters said, that the party employed by 
the Hudson Bay Company last year caught more than one hundred 
beavers during their sojourn in this neighbourhood with their cattle. 

On the 16th, they passed towards the Butes, and encamped, after an 
ineffectual search for water, at a place that had been occupied for the 
same purpose by Michel, in the valley or " Kraal" of the Butes. Here 
they found two deep holes of stagnant water, the remains of a rivulet 
that was now dried up. The ground around and near the Butes is 
covered with a great quantity of the bones of animals that resort 
hither for safety during the season of the freshets which flood the 
whole of this extensive plain. The soil is quite loose and crusted 
over with the deposit left by the water, through which the horses 
broke to the depth of four or five inches ; nearer the Butes, the soil 
is harder and strewed with fragments of volcanic rocks. There is 
little doubt that each of the Butes was once a volcano. They 
are grouped within an oval space, which has a circumference of 
about thirty miles : the longest diameter of the oval figure lies in a 
northeast and southwest direction. The valley passes through the 
southern part, and opens out on the eastern : it is about seven miles 
in length ; and here the party found water. The valley may be con- 
sidered almost as a prolongation of the exterior plain, though parts 
of it are somewhat higher, as appeared by its not having been over- 
flowed. The highest of the Butes was made, by a triangulation exe- 
cuted by Lieutenant Emmons and Mr. Eld, seventeen hundred and 
ninety-four feet. They have the appearance of having once been 
much higher and more extended than they now are. The volcanic 
rock, according to Mr. Dana, is a trachytic porphyry, of a purplish 
colour, which contains hornblend and six-sided tables of mica, with 
glassy feldspar, in crystals from a quarter to half an inch in size, 
disseminated through it; some of the rocks have a porcelain aspect, 
but this variety only constitutes a few of the peaks. The rock is 
found either in horizontal or vertical layers or curved in all direc- 
tions, and is thickly sprinkled with mica. The Butes were ascer- 
tained to be in the latitude of 39° 08' N. ; yet it has been generally 
believed that these were on the dividing line between Oregon and 

On the 17th, they proceeded, and in about fifteen miles they 
vol. v. 66 

262 SOUTH E It N R EG N. 

found themselves on the banks of the Feather river. There is a 
difficulty in fording this stream, on account of the quicksands; and 
the first time they attempted it, the guide and his horse were nearly 
lost. To swim the river was equally impracticable, in the weak and 
worn-out state of their animals. They therefore proceeded down its 
bank, looking for a ford. On their way, Inass killed a wild cow, 
one of a herd of ten. It is said that the wild cattle, which have 
originated from the animals that have escaped from the herds passing 
through the country to Oregon, are increasing very fast. 

They encamped in a beautiful oak grove, near the junction of the 
Feather river with the Sacramento. The two rivers are of about the 
same size, being each seventy yards wide. The waters of the Feather 
are clear, and in many places deep ; the banks are, as usual, lined 
with sycamore, cotton- wood, and oak, and were at this time about 
twenty-five feet above the stream. It appears to be navigable for 
boats. The party succeeded in fording it on the 18th, within two 
miles of the junction. Near the ford, the Indians had an extensive 
burial-ground, marked by a vast number of skulls and bones, that lie 
scattered around in all directions, and are said to be all that remains 
of a once powerful tribe, that has been swept off by disease. 

They then proceeded on to Captain Suter's, where they arrived the 
next day. 

The officers appear to have entered this valley with a high idea 
of its fruitfulness, and with the expectation of finding the soil abound- 
ing with every thing that could make it desirable for the abode of the 
agriculturist, and susceptible of prodiicing all that can add to the 
comfort or convenience of man. It is not surprising that they should 
have been sadly disappointed, when they beheld a large part of it 
barren, and destitute even of pasturage, wffiile that which is fertile is 
liable to be annually overflowed. The high prairie is equally gra- 
velly and unfertile. Yet it is necessary to say there is a sufficient 
quantity of good soil to make it a valuable agricultural country, and 
that it would be capable of affording subsistence to a large number of 
inhabitants, more, however, from the extraordinary fertility of these 
grounds than from their extent. 

After leaving Captain Suter's, or New Helvetia, the party divided. 
The detachment under Lieutenant Emmons, with Messrs. Dana, 
Agate, Colvocoressis, and Dr. Whittle, embarked in the Vincennes' 
launch, which met them a short distance below that place, and 
reached San Francisco at eight o'clock p. m. on the 24th. 


The other detachment, consisting of Messrs. Eld, Peale, Rich, 
Brackenridge, and the sergeant, with some of the men, went by land. 
I cannot avoid again returning my thanks to Captain Suter, for his 
kindness to this party. All the officers spoke most particularly of 
the attention he paid to them, individually and collectively, and of 
his care and watchfulness in making provision for our sick. 

On the 21st, the land party commenced their journey, with a young 
and intelligent Spaniard for a guide. The same day they made fifteen 
miles, passing over a dry portion of country, and encamped near two 
ponds, called in the country, Poros, the only place, as was supposed, 
where water could be obtained within twenty miles ; they, however, 
found some the next day in the Rio Cosmenes, within a mile and a 
half of the camp. Game was, as usual, very abundant; but the 
whole country was suffering from the drought that has been before 
spoken of. 

On the 22d, about noon, they crossed the river Mogueles, which 
was then a small stream ; but at other seasons, it is said it cannot 
be crossed on horseback. They travelled this day as far as the San 
Juan : the only water that it contained was in small pools. This 
place had been termed the Frenchman's Camp. The ducks and 
geese had rendered the water scarcely drinkable. 

On the 23d, before noon, they reached the San Joachim, which 
they found about fifty yards wide, and about three feet deep. Under 
the expectation of finding water, they were induced to ride forty-four 
miles, but were again disappointed. On the 24th, they entered 
among the Pul Porrice hills, a bare and barren range, composed of 
sandstone and volcanic rocks. As they approached the mission of 
San Jose, the country became more hilly, the oak abundant, and 
herds of cattle and horses were seen. On their way they fell in with 
large encampments of Indians, who were busily employed in collect- 
ing acorns. They were all half civilized as to dress, the men being 
clothed in shirts and trousers, some in velvet breeches ; the women 
in calico gowns, and gay-coloured shawls; several hundred of these 
were met, each loaded with the beef which is distributed to them in 
weekly rations. They are annually allowed a short holiday to return 
to their native wilds, during the time acorns are in season. 

The approach to the mission shows it to have once been a large 
establishment. It has all the appearance of a town, being built in the 
form of a street of considerable length. In the centre is the church 
and convent, with large dwelling-houses on each side of it, and on the 


opposite side the houses for the neophytes, consisting of small low 
buildings, with every appearance of filth and decay about them. 
Indeed the whole establishment is falling into ruins ; the walls and 
gates are thrown down, and every thing wears a look of neglect, both 
in the buildings and the persons who inhabit them. The halcyon 
days of this mission have passed away ; it is no longer the abode of 
hospitality and good living, since it has fallen into the hands of the 
administradors or agents of the government. The remains of a fine 
garden are also perceptible, where there is yet good fruit ; and near 
by are extensive fields of Indian corn, which were formerly cultivated 
by irrigation. 

The reception of our gentlemen was in keeping with the place, 
neither polite nor friendly. No civilities were tendered, no offers of 
accommodation made, although they brought a particular letter from 
Captain Suter. Our party were inclined to believe that this was 
owing, in part at least, to the condition of their wardrobe ; their whole 
appearance, it must be admitted, was not much in their favour, dressed 
as they were in the deer-skins that had been worn on their journey, 
yet they thought that their characters might have been discovered 
through their buckskins. 

The administrador told them there was no accommodation for 
their horses, and showed them none, except a miserable hole without 
any furniture. The letter of introduction bore the superscription 
of Don Jose Antonio Estrade. They met with the tailor to the 
establishment, Ephraim Travel, an American, of Philadelphia, who 
showed them the lions of the place with great politeness, and as far 
as in him lay, made amends for their otherwise cold reception. He 
took them round the gardens, through the churches, and told them 
that the Indians under the care of the mission were at the present 
time about six hundred, which was only one-third of the number they 
had two years before. In consecpience, there was but little cultivation 
carried on, compared to what there had been formerly. 

The harvest at the mission had been very small, from the great 
drought. No rain had fallen for upwards of a year. The vintage, 
however, had been very fine, and forty barrels of wine had been made, 
besides a large supply of grapes for the whole establishment. The 
two vineyards comprise about four acres, and beside vines, are filled 
with apple, pear, and other fruit trees. The buildings of the mission 
are all constructed of adobes, and covered with tile roofs. 

Fortunately for the party, Mr. Forbes, the agent of the Hudson 


Bay Company, residing a few miles farther on, happened to be at the 
mission, and very kindly offered them accommodations, which they 
thankfully accepted. They found him lodged in a comfortable two- 
story adobe house, situated on the border of an extensive prairie, but 
without any trees or cultivation around it. He entertained them 
very hospitably. 

The party visited Santa Clara the next day, where their reception 
was very courteous, and furnished a strong contrast to that at San 
Jose. After two days' journey, they reached Yerba Buena at noon 
on the 28th, having paid a visit to the mission of Nostra Senora de 
los Dolores, within three miles of that place. 

They reached the ship the same afternoon, and though fatigued and 
somewhat worn down, they had been much pleased with their jaunt. 

Although this journey from the Columbia to the Sacramento was 
attended with much fatigue, yet the labour and suffering were more 
than compensated by the information it furnished in relation to the 
southern section of Oregon, and the addition of new objects to the 
collections of the Expedition. Although every thing was not attained 
that I intended, yet I feel satisfied that all was done which the very 
limited time, and the hostile state of the country, would permit. To 
the perseverance and prudence of Lieutenant Emmons, much credit 
is due, as well as to the other officers and naturalists, for the manner 
in which they co-operated with him. The duties assigned them were 
performed under the most trying circumstances, while worn down by 
distressing attacks of the ague and fever. This disease, in particular, 
affected those members of the party who had been encamped on the 
Willamette, where it was supposed they contracted it. 

The closing scene of the tour deserves a short notice, as it is pro- 
bably peculiar to a country like California. On the arrival of the 
party, it seemed to have been surmised by the inhabitants of Yerba 
Buena, and by the few who dwell at the mission, presidio, and neigh- 
bouring rancheria, together with the trappers and hunters, that our 
horses and accoutrements must necessarily be parted with. I make 
no doubt that good bargains were anticipated, or rather a determina- 
tion made that they would have all for little or nothing. The alcalde, 
the only person in authority, a man of much rotundity and little 
height, interested himself exceedingly in the matter. In the first 
place, it was discovered that many of the horses were not marked, and 
therefore, agreeably to the laws of the country, they belonged to the 
government ; secondly, that many of them were beyond recovery from 

vol. v. 67 



their worn-out condition ; thirdly and lastly, that if they did recover, 
they would he worthless. The same faults were applied to the pack- 
saddles, parfleshes, and appichemens, that have been described in the 
beginning of this chapter, and which had caused so much trouble to 
procure. Their value, in the eyes of these gentlemen, was next to 
nothing. Under these circumstances, a notice was posted up at the 
few corners of the pueblo of Yerba Buena, that they would be dis- 
posed of by public auction. 

This attracted a great crowd, and among the number was the only 
representative of authority of the government, the redoubtable alcalde. 
The horses had been put in lots, as was likewise the case with the 
accoutrements. Each of these was announced first in English, then 
in Spanish, and last in French, which gave the auctioneer a full 
opportunity to descant upon their sore backs, lameness, visible ribs, 
and sorry appearance. The Spanish language seemed to be more 
copious in words to express their condition, for it certainly produced 
many jeers and much laughter among the motley throng. They went 
off briskly, however, in lots, from one dollar and fifty cents to five 
and six dollars each, principally under the bid of the redoubtable 
alcalde, who had arranged things well enough with those under his 
authority ; but as there were some of our countrymen and foreigners 
there whom he could not overawe, he had to pay what was deemed a 
fair price for the worn-out animals, although they were sold without 
reserve ; and when one considers that a brood-mare is valued here at 
less than a dollar, it will appear so. The proceeds of the sale 
amounted to two hundred and ten dollars. 







By the 28th of October, all the exploring parties had returned, and 
the duties of the observatory and surveys were completed. The 
instruments were at once embarked, and preparations made to sail 
with the first fair wind. 

By a series of observations of moon culminating stars, the longitude 
of Sausalito Fort was found to be 122° 25' 36" W. ; the latitude, by 
numerous altitudes, 37° 50' 50" N. Full series of magnetic observa- 
tions were also made, with the usual meteorological record. The 
mean temperature for the eighty days during which the Vincennes 
lay at Sausalito was 61-6°. 

The addition of the brig Oregon to the squadron rendered many 
changes necessary in the distribution of the officers. The command 
of that vessel was given to Lieutenant Carr, first lieutenant of the 
Vincennes, and such officers were ordered to act under him as would 
insure efficiency and harmony in the duties that remained to be 

It was with no little regret that I parted with Lieutenant Carr, 
who had been the executive officer of my ship for upwards of two 
years, during which time his duties had been at all times responsible, 
arduous, and valuable to the Expedition. By his excellent manage- 
ment the vessel had been kept in the best possible order, and while 
the comforts of the men were carefully attended to, the rules and 
regulations of the vessel were strictly enforced. In addition to the 
sufficiently arduous duties of executive officer, he was, during my 
frequent and necessary absences, charged not only with the duties on 

vol. v. 68 


board, but with those of the observatory, and was, besides, my assistant 
in the care of the chronometers. My regret at parting with him gave 
way, however, to the pleasure of assigning him a station to which his 
conduct had so justly entitled him, and which he was so well qualified 
to fill. 

To complete our supplies for the return voyage, it was expedient 
that we should again visit the Hawaiian Group : this was rendered 
absolutely necessary, in order to procure clothing for those who had 
lost every thing by the wreck of the Peacock; for deficiency in that 
important article might, had we pursued the direct route to the China 
Seas, have subjected the men, who had already undergone so much 
exposure, to the attacks of disease. 

This necessity, added to the other delays the unfortunate loss of 
the Peacock had caused, was a source of profound regret, as it 
prevented me from availing myself of the permission granted in my 
instructions, to enter the Sea of Japan, through the Straits of Sangar. 
I gave up this plan, to which I had looked forward as one of the most 
interesting parts of our cruise, with great reluctance ; but the season 
was rapidly passing, and to undertake this remote expedition would 
render it impossible to accomplish the other objects marked out for 
me previous to my return to the United States. We might not, 
perhaps, have succeeded in entering into communication with the 
inhabitants of that interesting and little-known country ; but we 
might certainly, by landing on some of the islands adjacent to its 
coast, have obtained much interesting information, and added greatly 
to the collections of our scientific departments. 

On the 1st of November, we had a wind that enabled us to make 
sail, although it was late in the day before it was sufficiently strong, 
and by that time the ebb tide was far spent. To avoid any farther 
loss of time, I determined to make the attempt. Signal was accord- 
ingly made ; and the vessels were in a few minutes under way, and 
standing out of the harbour. It may, indeed, be said, that it is prac- 
ticable to enter and depart from this port whenever the tide is favour- 
able. We continued beating out to gain an offing until towards sun- 
set, when it fell calm, and the tide failed us. The Vincennes was, 
therefore, compelled to anchor in six and three-fourths fathoms water, 
three miles from the land; and signal was made to the two brigs, 
which were about three miles outside of our position, to do the same. 

On our coming to anchor, there was scarcely any swell, and the 


ship lay almost as still as if she had been within the harbour. The 
sun set clear, and every thing betokened a calm and quiet night. 

At about 10 p. m. the swell began to increase, without any appa- 
rent cause, and so rapidly as to awaken my anxiety ; but being in 
such deep water, I thought that the vessel was sufficiently distant 
from the bar not to be exposed to any breakers. As the flood con- 
tinued to make, the swell increased, and by midnight we were enve- 
loped in fog, without a breath of air, and the ship rode over the 
rollers, that were now becoming very heavy, and caused her to pitch 
violently. There was, however, no break to them; but as ample 
scope of cable had been given, the ship occasionally swung broad- 
side to, when the heavy pitching was changed to rolling, so deep as 
to endanger our masts. At 2 a. m. a breaker was heard outside of 
us, passing in with the roar of a surf, after which they became con- 
stant, and really awful. The ship might now be said to be riding in 
breakers of gigantic size ; they rushed onwards with such a tremen- 
dous roar and violence, that as each wave was heard approaching, 
it became a source of apprehension until it had safely passed. Such 
was its force that when it struck the ship, the chain cable would 
surge, the ring-stoppers part, and some few fathoms of the cable 
escape. As the time of high water approached, the roar of these 
immense breakers was constant. The ship was as if tempest-tost, 
and our situation became at each moment one of greater solici- 
tude. The actual danger of wreck was not indeed great, for in 
the event of parting our cable, the tide would have carried us towards 
the harbour, and into deeper water, where the rollers would have 
ceased to break ; and there was no great danger that we would drift 
on the bar, which was a mile or two to the northward of our position. 

I looked forward with anxiety for the time of high water, as the 
period when we should be relieved from our unpleasant situation, not 
only by the change in the course of the tide, but also by the cessation 
of the breakers. 

Our situation afforded me an opportunity of measuring the velocity 
of the waves as they passed the ship ; and though the distance was 
short, yet the observations were numerous, and gave the velocity at 
from fifteen to eighteen miles an hour ; their estimated height was 
over thirty feet, their width, from eight hundred to one thousand feet. 

At half-past three, one of these immense breakers struck the ship 
broad on the bow, and broke with its full force on board : the cable 


surged; the stoppers were carried away; and the whole spar-deck 
swept fore and aft; the boats and booms broke adrift, the former 
were stove, and the latter thrown with violence to one side. 


Unfortunately, Joseph Allshouse, a marine, who was in the act of 
ascending the ladder at the time, was struck by one of the spars, and 
so much injured that he died a few hours afterwards. 

It was not until between seven and eight o'clock that the ship 
could be relieved from this situation : at that time a light air from 
the land sprung up, of which advantage was at once taken to 
weigh our anchor. The rollers, however, had by this time ceased to 
break, the sea began to fall, and a few hours afterwards regained its 
former placid and quiet state. The fog was still dense when we 
reached deep water, where we again dropped anchor ; but shortly 
after the weather cleared up, and we had communication with the 
Porpoise and Oregon ; they having reached deeper water, had fortu- 
nately not experienced any of the rollers. 

It now became our melancholy duty to bury poor Allshouse. He 
had been one of those who had been long attached to the Expedition, 
and always conducted himself with propriety. 

We afterwards got under way, and stood for the bay of Monterey, 


into which I sent the Porpoise with despatches for the United States, 
ordering her to land them, and then make the best of her way to the 
Sandwich Islands, in case she did not meet the Vincennes. 

The next day being foggy, I bore away in company with the 

On the 5th, the weather continuing thick and foggy, with strong 
breezes from the northward and westward, I made all sail and parted 

On the 6th, the full allowance of bread was again served to the 

The wind, on the 7th, when we had reached the latitude of 27° N., 
began to incline to the northeast, and the temperature became mild. 

In the latitude of 26° N., we entered the trades, being then in the 
longitude of 134° W. The weather peculiar to the region of the 
trades was now experienced, with light squalls of rain and a heavy 
sea following us, which caused the ship to be very uneasy. 

On the nights of the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, the usual look-outs 
for the periodic showers of meteors were stationed ; but the weather 
was not favourable, and the number counted was not above that 
usually seen on fine nights. On the latter day, I shaped our course 
to run over one of the positions of Copper's Island, supposed to exist 
in longitude 151° 36' W., and latitude 25° 48' N. On the afternoon 
of the 14th, we were within five miles of its assigned place, and the 
weather was perfectly fine, with a clear horizon, but there was no 
appearance of land. 

On the morning of the 16th, we made the island of Maui, and at 
noon we were off its western end. I then determined to run through 
the Pailolo Channel, between Maui and Molokai. On approaching 
the island of Maui on its north side, there is some liability to mistake 
the isthmus for the opening of the channel, as that part of the island 
called West Maui is frequently enveloped in clouds. 

The trade-wind, as we passed through, blew very strong. The 
scenery is very bold, the two islands of Maui and Lanai lying on 
the left, with that of Molokai on the right : they are all high and 
volcanic, and during a strong trade-wind are capped with clouds 
and constantly undergoing changes from the shadows thrown upon 
them ; these, with the town and shipping lying off Lahaina, form a 
pleasing picture. The day being far spent, I hove the ship to for the 
night under the west end of Molokai. The current experienced 

vol. v. 69 


during our passage was found to prevail to the southward, until we 
reached the trades, when it inclined somewhat to the southward and 

The 17th, at daylight, we made the island of Oahu, and at 10 
a. M. anchored off the town of Honolulu. The Porpoise came in 
at 2 p. m., and the Flying-Fish at five o'clock of the same day. The 
following day the trade-wind was too strong to admit of the Vin- 
cennes entering the inner harbour ; but the Porpoise and tender were 
enabled to do so. The Oregon joined us in the afternoon, and on the 
next day at an early hour the squadron was again moored in the 
harbour of Honolulu. 

Our reception was even kinder than before ; and every facility that 
we could desire was offered for advancing our duties and procuring 
the necessary stores and clothing that our shipwrecked officers and 
men required. 

It was my first intention here to part with the Flying-Fish, 
for the reports of her commander led me to believe that she was 
becoming unseaworthy. She was, therefore, thoroughly examined ; 
but the report made upon her was sufficiently satisfactory to deter- 
mine me to retain her until we had passed through our explorations 
in the Sooloo Seas. She was refitted and put in as good condition as 
possible for service. Captain Hudson superintended these duties, 
while I had my time fully occupied in making the magnetic expe- 
riments for the third time, and attending to the rates of the chrono- 

Honolulu showed signs of improvement, but I regretted to perceive 
that during the year the morals of the place seemed to have declined. 
The number of grog-shops had apparently increased, and the sailors' 
dancing-halls, with their music, were allowed more license than at 
our first visit. Yet, as far as the prompt execution of the law went, 
I did not find the authorities deficient. Indeed, at times, Governor 
Kekuanaoa is rather too precipitate in his decisions, of which we 
soon had an instance. 

During our stay of ten days, the crews were allowed in turn, 
recreation on shore. Among the number was Lewis Herron, the 
cooper. In the course of his liberty, he was desirous of entering 
one of the sailors' boarding-houses, at the door of which his progress 
was arrested by a coloured man, who was on guard with an old 
cutlass, and who threatened Herron with violence if he attempted to 


enter. This, Herron, though usually a very quiet and orderly man, 
at once resented ; and the altercation finally came to an angry dispute 
as to who was the better man. Herron, determined to prove that he 
was, laid hold of the sentry, overthrew him, took the rusty cutlass 
away, and struck him with it so as to give the man a slight scratch 
on the leg. Herron now brandished his weapon in victory ; but being 
told by the bystanders that it was unlawful to carry weapons, he 
determined to take it himself to the governor at the fort, and deliver 
it up. On his way thither, and just before he arrived, he was met 
by some soldiers, who at once seized and carried him before the 
governor, with the sword in his hand, which he had refused to give 
up to any one else. 

The governor had a kind of trial held by himself, and not accord- 
ing to law, (which provides for trial by jury,) to which he summoned 
the very man who had caused the quarrel, as a witness, without any 
formality or oath, and sentenced Herron to fifty dollars fine, and to 
receive one hundred lashes; while the person who had been guilty of 
using the arms, received but a nominal fine. One of the officers 
hearing of the circumstance in the afternoon, went to see Herron, 
heard his story, and then saw the governor, who promised that the 
man should have another hearing or trial the next morning, at nine 
o'clock, and that he should not be punished until I was informed 
of it. In the morning, however, to my great surprise, I heard that, 
by the governor's orders, and in his presence, Herron had, at eight 
o'clock, an hour before the time his new trial was to take place, 
received twenty-eight lashes. On learning this circumstance, an 
officer was at once sent to wait upon the governor, to request an 
explanation of the proceedings, and that Herron might be given 
up, and held subject to the governor's order, for a proper trial. 
On receiving the officer, Governor Kekuanaoa declared that it was 
a misunderstanding relative to his having promised a new trial, 
and declined giving up the man. In consequence of this, I at once 
sent a message to demand him, and to state that if he was not sur- 
rendered, I should be obliged to take him, for I would not suffer him 
to remain any longer in the keeping of persons who would inflict 
punishment with so much precipitation. This caused his delivery. 
Shortly after, I received a letter, telling me that the corporeal part of 
his punishment was remitted, but demanding the fine. I took this 
occasion to write the governor a letter, pointing out wherein he had 


erred, in order that he might not fall into a similar error ; which I 
have inserted in Appendix VIII. 

The next day I was notified that he would be again tried before a 
legal tribunal, viz. : the governor and the United States consul. 
The day after, he was accordingly sent on shore to undergo a trial, 
which he himself wished, for the purpose of proving whether he 
was guilty and subject to the fine. The trial of Herron took place 
in the grass-house of the king, that has been before described ; the 
scene was characteristic, and will show the manner of conducting 
trials in the Hawaiian Islands. Governor Kekuanaoa, the American 
consul, Captain Hudson, Dr. Judd of the American Mission, who 
acted as interpreter, and several officers belonging to the squadron, 
as well as those of the government police, numerous residents, of all 
colours and classes, the prisoner, his friends and accusers, were 
present. At one table the governor and Dr. Judd were seated, at 
another the consul and Captain Hudson, while the prisoner and wit- 
nesses, with the spectators, were standing in groups around. The 
court was opened in due form, and Dr. Judd stated the indictment, to 
which Herron pleaded not guilty : every thing was conducted with 
due solemnity ; the oath was then administered by the American 
consul, to the witnesses on both sides. Dr. Judd examined and 
interpreted the whole. During this proceeding all were deeply intent 
in ferreting out the truth, with the exception of his excellency the 
governor, who was occupied most of the time in searching his little 
white pet dog, that was lying on the table before him, for fleas. The 
whole trial was, however, fairly conducted, and resulted in proving 
that Herron was guilty. Herron was fined fifty dollars, which was 
paid, and the business ended. 

I was satisfied, however, that the governor, whose conduct as an 
officer I have heretofore had occasion to speak of in high terms, had 
in this case acted with unbecoming haste and inconsiderateness, at 
the same time was wanting in delicacy to his best friends, for we, of 
all nations, are the most inclined to respect his laws and uphold his 
authority. I called upon him before my departure, to take leave, 
when he admitted that the course he had pursued was an unusual 
one, when foreigners were concerned ; but from the explanations he 
made, I was satisfied his intention was to do right, but like many 
others when vested with authority, he was not inclined to delay 
action on a case he considered so clear as this. It proved a good 



lesson for him, and I do not believe he will err in the same way 


During this last visit, a whale-ship arrived, having in her cruise 
visited the coast of Japan, and, on one of the small islands, picked 
up five Japanese, who had been wrecked, and were found destitute 
of the means of sustaining life ; they had been there for several months 
before he took them on board. The man and boy were of small 
stature and diminutive appearance. They were possessed of little 
intelligence, and were of the lower order, probably fishermen. Mr. 
Agate made a drawing of one of them. 


Of the trade and resources of the Hawaiian Group I have not 
as yet spoken. The former is, at present, confined within very 
narrow limits. The islands produce but little, and their con- 
sumption of foreign products is necessarily small. The capabilities 
of the islands have generally been underrated, for their soil and 
climate are suitable for raising all tropical productions in conside- 
rable quantities, and at a moderate cost. But very little investment 
of capital has yet taken place, and the business that has induced 
the establishment of several commercial houses has been more that 
of transit than for the purpose of supplying the consumption of the 
islands, or obtaining their exports. A table of statistics, (see Appen- 
dix IX.,) which was published in a newspaper at Oahu, compiled by 
intelligent merchants there, gives the amount of imports at four 

VOL. V. 



hundred and fifty-five thousand dollars. These are the amounts of 
goods actually landed — I do not include those that have been brought 
in, and retained on board ships; while the exports of native produce 
are no more than ninety-eight thousand dollars : one-half of the imports 
are set down as from the United States. From this great difference 
between the imports and exports, it would appear that many of these 
articles must have been reshipped to other ports, or are still on hand. 
The latter I believe to be the case. During the year for which the 
returns are given, more has certainly been consumed on the islands 
than in former years ; but the interdiction of trade by foreign vessels 
on the coast of California, together with the exorbitant duties there, 
have most effectually paralysed all trade in that quarter, and, there- 
fore, the goods intended for that market were landed at Oahu, and 
remained in store there. The trade on the Northwest Coast, formerly 
so much resorted to by our vessels, is entirely broken up by the 
Russians, who have interdicted the taking of furs on the coast of 
their territory, and obtain their supplies exclusively from the Hudson 
Bay Company, or by the latter, who have adopted the principle of 
underselling all competitors, and have thereby caused a monopoly, 
which effectually shuts out all small traders. Some articles of Chinese 
manufacture are sent from the Sandwich Islands to Mexico, but to no 
great amount. There are, comparatively, few transient vessels that 
call at these islands on their way to China, and the whole trade seems 
now confined to but a few vessels. 

Although the Sandwich Islands are not so fruitful as many of the 
other islands of Polynesia, yet their geographical situation has rendered 
them hitherto by far the most important group in the Pacific Ocean. 

They are the favourite and most convenient resort for those whale- 
ships whose cruising-ground is the North Pacific ; and the amount of 
property engaged in this business, visiting the ports of the Sandwich 
Islands annually, is equal to three millions of dollars. To the supply 
of this fleet, the labour of the inhabitants has principally been directed. 

The groves of sandalwood, which were formerly represented by a 
number of designing persons, who professed a strong friendship for 
the chiefs, to be an inexhaustible mine of wealth, soon gave out. The 
chiefs have ceased to look to them as a source of profit, and have 
begun the cultivation of sugar, which, together with silk, now attract 
much attention ; but, until some capital be invested in these cultures, 
and the business be better understood, these articles cannot be raised 


to any large amount ; yet with the provisions and supplies to ships, 
these suffice to afford all the necessary comforts to the inhabitants of 
this group. 

Fortunately for the Sandwich Islands, they have no port that is 
defensible against a strong naval force, and therefore their conse- 
quence will be comparatively small in a political point of view. 
No foreign power, in fact, could well hold them, without great 
expense and difficulty. Honolulu is the port where vessels can best 
receive repairs, but it can only be used by the smaller class. By 
these circumstances, the neutral position of this group I think is 
insured ; and this is most desirable for its peace and happiness. 
This fact seems to me to be tacitly acknowledged by the mari- 
time powers, as no attempt has as yet been made to take pos- 
session of them, and they will, in all probability, be long left in 
the enjoyment of their neutrality, which King Kamehameha III. is 
now endeavouring to establish through a formal recognition of his 
kingdom by the United States, England, and France, by negotiations 
that are now pending. Such recognition will render them less liable, 
if not altogether exempt from aggressions, exerted in the manner that 
has already been related, in the course of this Narrative. These 
islands seem intended for peaceful occupations alone; their products, 
situation, and inhabitants, require and wish it. The power on which 
they must become dependent hereafter, is that which is to be esta- 
blished in Oregon and California; and, adapted as they are to supply 
all the products of the tropics, they will become a valuable appendage 
to those states ; but, I deem the idea entertained by many, who sup- 
pose they ever can become so powerful as to command those states, 
to be a mistake. So far as the consumption of a small amount of 
manufactures go, and the convenience of our whaling fleet, but no 
farther, they will be beneficial to the United States. In this relation, 
the character of the government becomes a source of solicitude to us. 
It is the interest of the United States that they should maintain the 
neutrality that they seek to establish, and should not be permitted to 
fall into the hands of any other power. 

I am rather disposed to think that, in the progress of civilization in 
the South Seas, this group will be considered of less importance than 
it now appears, and instead of its being looked to as it now is, as a 
point of attraction, or a place wherein to obtain information and 
supplies, it will be only visited by whalers for recruiting. Their 
growth has already arrived at the greatest extent to which it can 


ever reach. A direct communication with Oregon and California 
will do away with the necessity of intercourse through the islands ; 
they must, consequently, be left to their own resources to maintain 
trade ; and when California and Oregon Territory can afford the 
whalers equal advantages, which, when settled, they will do in a few 
years ; the advantages derived from this source will be withdrawn. 
Unfortunately for these islands, a fictitious importance has been 
ascribed to their geographical position, in the belief that much poli- 
tical ascendency in the Pacific must accrue to the nation which 
may possess them ; this state of opinion has been brought about by 
the exertions of the American missionaries, who have been the 
means of raising the natives so rapidly in the scale of civilization, 
and from whose success our countrymen have acquired much in- 
fluence. This ascendency, however, has been partly the means 
of provoking a sectarian war, which has brought about much 
trouble, and been the cause of great distress both to the king and 
people. These troubles have probably been of some advantage to 
the people, and afforded the means of increasing their wealth, and 
causing a demand for their products, which, though trifling as 
to amount, yet in such a small community has been sensibly felt, 
and has enabled them to obtain many advantages they could not 
have had otherwise. I have some doubt whether the Hawaiian 
Islands can ever become an independent nation by the exertion 
of their own people, since they have unv/isely invited foreigners 
to reside among them, and given them equal rights and privileges 
with natives. Endeavours are now making to introduce foreign 
labourers and capital, which, although proceeding from a dispo- 
sition to advance and develope the resources of the islands, will 
have a tendency to injure the native labouring population. The 
introduction of foreign labour will necessarily bring with it foreign 
habits and custom, which the natives are, even now, too prone to 
imitate ; and the examples that are set before them are generally, if 
not always, of the worst description. 

The inducements held out to the king and chiefs to make large 
grants of land to foreigners, have been great; but such grants can 
never be carried into effect without endangering the very existence 
of the government and people. In all cases that came within my 
knowledge on the islands, the object of the majority of foreign resi- 
dents was solely to increase their own wealth; and on the accumu- 
lation of a sufficient amount, they withdraw from the islands, taking 


their capital with them ; and this will always be the case. So far, 
therefore, as their influence goes, instead of enriching the islanders, 
their exertions have in some degree had a contrary effect, and the 
result does not justify those engaged in mercantile pursuits, in attri- 
buting the advancement of the islands to themselves; on the con- 
trary, they leave very little but evil habits and vices behind them. 
Few foreigners have made any permanent improvements, and when 
they have, they pass into the hands of others, to the exclusion of the 
natives, who are looked upon and treated as slaves. 

It is impossible for a disinterested person to reside any time among 
these natives, without imbibing a strong interest in the progress of 
their institutions, and the developement of their government. In the 
Hawaiians are seen many things to condemn ; but they have, on the 
other hand, many good qualities, which their religious instructers are 
endeavouring by every means in their power to foster and develope. 
In taking leave of them, I cannot recall a single instance in which 
they did not conduct themselves towards us with a full belief that 
they were acting right ; and I feel rejoiced to say, that during all our 
intercourse with them, no incident occurred to mar the harmony 
which existed on our first arrival. I am, indeed, fully persuaded that 
with proper attention and forbearance no difficulties will ever occur. 
One thing, however, ought always to be borne in mind on visiting 
this island, viz., that too much credit must not be given to those who 
will on your first arrival endeavour to impress on you their own 
views of the character of the people, and of those who have been 
their benefactors, and are constant in their exertions to promote the 
welfare of those they live among. The natives and the latter class 
are far better able to judge what the islands require or stand in need 
of than any casual visiter, or he who may be a sojourner only for a 
few weeks. 

I shall always think with pleasure and satisfaction of the many 
friends we left here ; and I am fully satisfied, that, with few excep- 
tions, and those growing out of a mistaken zeal, our country has 
just reason to be proud of the advance these islanders have made 
within the last twenty-five years in civilization, morals, and religion, 
an advance that has been almost wholly the work of our citizens, 
either at home or abroad, the one in furnishing the means, the other 
in giving the instruction. 

The Expedition had become so much identified with the history of 
these islands during our stay, that we were made familiar with all 

VOL. v. 71 


the village scandal. Few who live in such small places are aware 
how unfavourable an impression they make upon visiters, and the 
bad light in which they appear, by this habit of talking of each 
other ; whatever may be the terms on which they associate together, 
or however discordant the materials of which the society is composed, 
they would do well to avoid showing their uncharitable feelings, or 
making use of detraction to create a bias against others. 

On the afternoon of the 27th November, the squadron being pre- 
pared, we took leave of our kind friends, and particularly of those 
belonging to the mission, to whom I feel under many obligations for 
their uniform kindness to us. We then joined our vessels, and at 
8 p. m. took our final leave of the Hawaiian Islands. 

At midnight, signal was made to heave-to, in order that I might 
finish the instructions for the different vessels. Although it was out 
of my power to visit Japan, I had determined if possible to ascertain 
the character of the currents off that island. I therefore directed the 
Porpoise and Oregon to follow out, and explore the shoals and reefs 
extending in a west-northwest direction from the Hawaiian Islands,* 
and proceed until they fell in with the current or stream that is 
supposed by some to set along the coasts of Japan, and resemble the 
Gulf Stream off our own coast. This done, they were ordered to 
proceed through the China Seas, to Singapore, in the Straits of 

With the Vincennes and tender it was my intention to proceed to 
Strong's and Ascension Islands, which the Peacock had been unable 
to reach in her cruise, examining every shoal that might lie in 
my way, and thence to Manilla. I proposed on leaving that port, 
to explore and survey the Sooloo Archipelago, then proceeding 
to Singapore to meet the brigs, fill up with provisions, and 
thence sail for the United States, where it was incumbent on me 
to arrive by the 31st of May- following. This, agreeably to my 
promise to my crew a year previous, left me just six months to per- 
form the duty, of which at least one hundred and forty days were 
required for the actual passage. 

We parted company with the brigs the next day at noon, and 
bore away under all sail to the southward and westward. At 4. p. m., 
the Flying-Fish made the signal " in want of assistance;" and on 
coming within hail, reported that her mainmast was sprung. Car- 

* For the instructions of Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold, see Appendix X. 


penters were at once sent on board, who reported that the mast was 
quite sound : the vessels were reduced to easy sail for the night in 
order to keep in company, as I intended in the morning, when the 
sea should have decreased, to have a farther examination of it. 

I had now the prospect of another obstacle, in the delays this 
vessel must occasion me with a sprung mast, if such should prove to 
be the case, which I could, however, scarcely bring myself to believe. 
In order to secure an examination of the Sooloo Sea, which was a part 
of my original instructions, I determined to give Mr. Knox orders to 
act by himself, in case I found it necessary to push at once to Manilla 
and avoid detention, directing him to touch at Strong's and Ascension 
Islands, and to part company if she proved to be sound in her spars 
after a few days' trial, which the sea and wind then prevailing would 
fully prove. As soon as I came to this conclusion, Mr. Knox was 
sent for, Assistant-Surgeon Whittle, a carpenter, and two extra men 
ordered to join the tender, and my instructions relative to his pro- 
ceedings, which will be found in Appendix XL, fully explained to 
him. On the 30th, we parted company with her, being in the lati- 
tude of Maloon's Island, and one hundred and ten miles due east of 
it: I steered a west course through the night under easy sail. At 
daylight sail was again made, and by noon we found the ship, by 
good observations, in latitude 19° 19' N., longitude 165° 25' W. The 
supposed position of the island being in latitude 19° 20' N., and longi- 
tude 165° 20' W., we had consequently passed directly over the 
place, with the weather so clear as to render all objects within a 
radius of fifteen miles perfectly distinct, and with two look-outs at 
the masthead, yet no signs of land were visible. I continued in its 
latitude until we had passed seventy miles to the westward, when we 
steered for another island, laid down in Arrowsmith's charts in longi- 
tude 166° 48' W., and latitude 19° 17' N. On its parallel, we ran for 
sixty miles east and west of the assigned place ; but in like manner, 
there was nothing perceived that indicated any proximity to land. 

On the 3d of December, we ran over the locality of a shoal, lying in 
170° 30' W., and latitude 18° 20' N. This was likewise searched for, 
over a space of sixty miles east and west of its supposed locality. 

Jane's Island, supposed to be in longitude 173° 15' W., latitude 16° 
10' N., was next searched for. In doing this, I was greatly surprised 
to find that we had entered a strong current setting to the northward 
and westward. Our difference of latitude showed 24', and we were 


at once compelled to haul up to the southward, to reach the supposed 
locality of the island. We passed about five miles to the westward 
of its place, but no sign of land was seen. This was the first day 
since leaving Oahu, that we were able to write with any degree of 
comfort, the sea having become perfectly smooth. 

I was at first disposed to doubt the accuracy of the observations for 
latitude, but the next day (5th December) proved them to be correct, 
nearly the same difference having occurred. 

On the 6th, we reached the latitude of Gaspar Island, in latitude 
15° N., and as the different localities assigned it varied considerably 
in longitude, I determined to run on its parallel until I had passed 
them all. 

On the 7th, we dropped a day, passing into east longitude. Our 
winds had become light, varying from the east to the southwest 
quarters, and it was generally calm throughout the night, so that we 
made little progress. 

On the 10th, the current was found setting west-southwest three 
quarters of a mile, both by the difference of the observations, and the 
current-log. The pot, at this time, was seen at thirty-two fathoms 
depth, several fathoms lower than at any previous observation. The 
temperature of the water was 81°, the day fine, and beautifully clear. 

We continued on the parallel of latitude 15° N. until the 14th, 
when we found ourselves in the longitude of 174° 50' E., having 
passed over all the localities assigned the island, between longitude 
175° W. and 174° 20' E. I am fully satisfied that it does not exist 
within those meridians. 

Having been thus retarded, the fear I entertained of meeting with 
light, and in all probability, westerly winds, determined me to forego 
my visit to Strong's and Ascension Islands, and haul to the northward, 
to look for some of the many shoals laid down on the track usually 
pursued by ships bound to the China Seas. 

After this determination was made, I hauled up for an island said 
to exist in longitude 171° 42' E., and latitude 16° N. On the night 
of the 15th we hove-to in order to run over the locality by daylight. 
This position was passed over, and forty miles to the westward of it 
explored, but nothing indicating a proximity to land was seen. The 
supposed site of Cornwallis Island, in longitude 169° 33' E., and lati- 
tude 16° 51' N., was in like manner passed over. 

Wake's Island next claimed my attention. On the 19th we reached 


its parallel, and hove-to till daylight of the 20th, when we discovered 
it, bearing west-by -north, about nine miles distant. The wind was 
light from the north-northeast. After breakfast, several boats were 
sent to survey the island. Wake's Island is a low coral one, of trian- 
gular form, and eight feet above the surface. It has a large lagoon 
in the centre, which was well filled with fish of a variety of species ; 
among these were some fine mullet. There is no fresh water on the 
island, and neither pandanus nor cocoa-nut trees. It has upon it the 
shrubs which are usually found on the low islands of the Pacific, 
the most abundant of which was the Tournefortia. Mr. Peale found 
here the short-tailed albatross, and procured an egg from its nest. 
The birds were quite tame, although they were not so numerous as 
we had before met with on uninhabited islands. 

The time of low water took place at one o'clock, and the moon 
entered its last quarter on the same day : the tide was setting along 
the shore of the island with much strength to the westward; the 
rise and fall was three feet. From appearances, the island must be 
at times submerged, or the sea makes a complete breach over it ; 
the appearance of the coral blocks and of all the vegetation leads to 
this conclusion, for they have a very decided inclination to the east- 
ward, showing also that the violent winds or rush of the water, when 
the island is covered, are from the westward. The reef around this 
island is very small in extent. 

The position of Wake's Island was found by my observations of 
equal altitudes on shore to be in longitude 166° 31' 30" E., and lati- 
tude 19° 10' 54" N. 

By four o'clock, p. m., all the boats had returned on board, when we 
filled away and proceeded on our course to the westward. Although 
these coral islands resemble one another very strongly, yet they 
afforded us some recreation for a few hours, and much satisfaction in 
obtaining series of observations in magnetism. Our visit to Wake's 
Island gave us an opportunity of adding to our collections in natural 

In the evening we steered to pass over the position of Halcyon 
Island,— longitude 163° 30' E., latitude 19° 13' N. ; and on the 27th, 
we passed immediately over its locality, and had run on its supposed 
parallel fifty miles on each side of it, but nothing was seen of it. We 
now felt the current to the southeast 12' in the twenty-four hours. 

Folger's Island next claimed my attention : it is said to lie in longi- 
vol. v. 72 


tude 155° 19' E., latitude 18° 21' N. This position was passed over, 
but the inquiry resulted as the others had in a fruitless search. 

I now bore away for Grigan, the northernmost of the inhabited 
Ladrone or Marian Islands, which we made on the 29th December, 
at 7 a. m., bearing south-southwest. As we approached these islands, 
we had experienced a strong current to the northward and westward; 
and the wind had also veered to the southward and westward. 

At midnight, we discovered the island of Assumption, bearing 

The island of Grigan appears to be about eight miles in width, 
seen from the north, and has the form of a dome. Its height, by a 
very unsatisfactory observation, was two thousand three hundred feet. 
It was my intention to stop and make it a magnetic station ; but the 
weather appeared so thick as to threaten delay ; and this I could ill 
afford, so I gave up the idea. 

There is said to be no other settlement than one small village, on 
the southwest side of Grigan, where a few individuals dwell, and I 
understood that they were headed by an American; its shores are 
almost perpendicular, and it has no coral reefs to form harbours ; so 
that in this respect it is not so much favoured as the southern isles of 
the same group. The passage between Grigan and Assumption is 
free from dangers, and I am well satisfied that no shoal exists where 
Freycinet has laid down the Mangs, for we passed directly over the 
locality, and saw nothing of the kind. The Mangs were seen in their 
true position, to the northward of Assumption. 

The wind was light and variable. On the 1st of January, 1842, it 
changed to the southwest ; with this change of wind we experienced 
a fall both of the thermometer and barometer, and excessive damp- 
ness ; we had some lightning, and at midnight a violent squall with 
rain burst upon us, attended by a shift of wind to the northward and 
westward, which afterwards hauled to the northward and eastward. 
A slight current was felt setting to the eastward. 

We now steered for the most eastern position assigned to Copper's 
Island, as it will no doubt be recollected that we ran over its supposed 
position in west longitude, on the passage between San Francisco 
and Oahu, mentioned in the first part of this chapter. On the 4th, 
we ran over the position in longitude 131° 54' E., and latitude 20° 
11' N. The Abajos Shoal of Arrowsmith has no existence: its posi- 
tion was passed over in broad daylight. 


On the 5th, we felt a current to the west of fifteen miles. The 
variations of the compass were now to the westward ; much phos- 
phorescence in the water; its temperature was 75°. The slight 
current continued until the 8th, when we made the islands of Sab- 
tang and Batan on the starboard side, and the Richmond Rocks on the 
larboard, steering a westerly course through the Balingtang Straits. 
The weather being remarkably fine, we had excellent observations on 
transit bearing. The longitude of the west point of Sabtang is 121° 
50' 30" E., the latitude is in 20° 18' N., instead of 20° 11' N. In the 
strait we had strong ripples, and occasionally felt the influence of the 
current, as we passed through them. 

We had now left the Pacific Ocean, and I could not but rejoice 
that we had all the results of our cruise up to this time quite safe. 

Sabtang and Batan are of broken surface, shooting up into many 
remarkable peaks, to the elevation of a thousand feet. These are 
both inhabited, and afford one or two anchorages. 

In the route from Oahu, we had experienced a set to the westward 
of four hundred miles by current; the greater part of this was felt 
before reaching the meridian of the Ladrone Islands. 

I now stood to the southward along the island of Luzon, to pass 
just clear of Cape Bolinao. On the 9th, we continued to have very 
strong winds. A very heavy sea arose, without apparent cause ; the 
progressing motion of the waves in passing the ship was twenty-two 
miles per hour; their width, as near as it could be ascertained, was 
one hundred and forty yards. 

At sunset of the 10th, we were off Cape Capones, and numerous 
lights were seen on shore. The breeze failed us after midnight, and 
in the morning we found that we had drifted some thirty miles to 
the leeward of Cape Miravales, having Cape Capones due north, the 
current having set to the southward. As the breeze was adverse to 
our entrance into the bay, we continued beating until the afternoon, 
when the sea-breeze gave us the hope of reaching the anchorage ; but 
it was so feeble that we made no way, and the night was again passed 
under sail. 

The next day, the 12th, was also passed in working up for the city 
of Manilla. For this delay I had something to console me in the 
arrival of the Flying-Fish, which vessel was discovered at 3' 1 30'" p. m. 
beating in. Signal was made for her to join company. 

On arriving at the island of Corregidor, we were boarded by a go- 
vernment galley, pulling sixteen oars, and having a large brass twelve- 


pound piece mounted on the bow. These vessels, I understood, are 
intended principally to pursue the pirates of Sooloo", who not unfre- 
quently make excursions among the islands, attacking the villages, 
and carrying off the inhabitants as slaves. They are manned by the 
natives of this island, who are represented as active and expert sailors, 
although they are, generally, of small size. 

After dark, we anchored about eight miles from the city, in the 
middle of the broad and beautiful expanse of its bay, which is nearly 
circular, with an almost uniform depth of water. I learned, whilst at 
Manilla, that since the settlement of Europeans, the bay has filled up 
in places very considerably, from the wash of the hills. The lands in 
the vicinity are high and mountainous, and are clothed with the vege- 
tation of the tropics. After dark, the many lights that were seen in 
the direction of the city gave the bay an animated appearance, and 
bespoke our being near a large and active population. 

Mr. Knox reported to me that after his separation, on the 30th of 
November, he stood for the position of Cornwallis Island, as laid 
down by Arrowsmith in longitude 169° 31' W-, latitude 16° 50' N., 
without seeing any indication of land. Twenty-two miles to the 
south-by-east of this position, he discovered a reef, which surrounded 
an extensive lagoon, extending northeast and southwest ten miles, 
and in the opposite direction five miles. On the northwest side of 
this reef there are two low islets : the one to the westward was covered 
with bushes, but no trees ; the other was no more than a sand-bank. 
This reef lies deep. The longitude of the westernmost islet was 
found to be 169° 45' 36" W., and latitude 16° 48' N. He then bore 
away for San Pedro of Arrowsmith, in longitude 179° 00' W., and 
latitude 11° 17' N., and on the 7th of December sailed over it and 
on its parallel forty miles both east and west, but saw no indications 
of land whatever. 

The Mulgrave Islands were steered for, and two small islands 
made on the 16th, in the position of longitude 172° 02' 33" E., and 
latitude 5° 59' 15" N., which corresponds with the position of Arrow- 
smith. They are low islets, extending two miles from north to south, 
and one and a half from east to west. They are connected by a reef, 
which surrounds a lagoon. They were seen to be inhabited, but no 
communication was had with them. 

Bapham's, a lagoon island, was made on the 17th : it was found to 
be correctly located ; it is also inhabited. 

Hunter's Island was made the same evening, and was examined 


the next day : it is one and three quarters of a mile long, north and 
south, and two-thirds of a mile east and west; it is elevated in the 
centre, and has no lagoon ; its position was ascertained to be in longi- 
tude 169° 05' 46" E., and latitude 5° 42' 00" N. 

Baring's Island was next passed, in 168° 26' 24" E., latitude 5° 34' 
42" N. The current experienced off these islands was from fifteen 
to twenty-five miles easterly. 

It having been strongly enjoined upon Mr. Knox not to be behind 
the time designated for his arrival at Manilla, he found, on his reach- 
ing the equator, that but twenty-two days of his time remained : 
having already experienced light winds and calms, he saw that it 
would be impossible to range through the Caroline Group and visit 
Ascension and Strong's Islands ; he therefore determined to haul 
again to the northward, and passed several of the groups in a higher 

On the 26th, he passed over the situation ascribed to Faroilip 
Island, in latitude 10° 45' N., longitude 146° 27' E., without any 
indications of land. He then sought Feis Island, whose position was 
crossed on the 27th, but saw no land. 

The eastern extremity of M'Kenzie's Group was made on the 29th, 
in latitude 10° 07' 53" N., longitude 139° 54' 58" E. To the north- 
ward and westward of it, a supposed shoal was passed over, but none 
was found. 

M'Kenzie's Group is of greater extent than is represented on the 
maps. It is composed of a great many islets, with passages between 
them, some of them into the lagoon, through one of which the 
schooner entered, with not less than seven fathoms water on the bar. 
This group is thickly inhabited, and some of the natives boarded the 
schooner. They resembled the Caroline Islanders, but had their 
teeth much discoloured, apparently from the use of the betel-nut. 
From them some fish and cocoa-nuts were procured. They were 
seen to be in possession of iron utensils, and appeared to have before 
had communication with vessels. 

Mr. Knox now steered for the Straits of Bernadino, and made 
Cape Espiritu Santo on the night of the 4th of January. Owing 
to the want of observations for two days before, he was near being 
shipwrecked. On the 11th, he had passed through the straits, and 
anchored under Cape St. Jago, whence he got under way, and reached 
Manilla, as before stated. 

vol. v. 73 



I now felt myself secure against farther detention, and hoped to 
expedite my duties, so as to reach Singapore in the time designated 
in my instructions. 

The wood-cut below represents the banca or passage-boat univer- 
sally used in Manilla ; a particular description of it will be given in 
the next chapter. 

' ^fPP^ 






1 842. 

At daylight, on the 13th of January, we were again under way, 
with a light air, aiid at nine o'clock reached the roadstead, where we 
anchored in six fathoms water, with good holding-ground. Being 
anxious to obtain our letters, which, we were informed at Oahu, had 
been sent to Manilla, I immediately despatched two boats to procure 
them. On their way to the mole, they were stopped by the captain 
of the port, Don Juan Salomon, who ordered them, in a polite manner, 
to return, and informed the officers that, agreeably to the rules of the 
port, no boat was permitted to land until the visit of the health-officer 
had been made, &c. 

The captain of the port, in a large barge, was soon seen pulling 
off in company with the boats. He boarded us with much ceremony, 
and a few moments sufficed to satisfy him of the good health of the 
crew, when he readily gave his assent to our visiting the shore. 
Every kind of assistance was offered me, on the part of the govern- 
ment, and he, in the most obliging manner, gave us permission to go 
and come when we pleased, with the simple request that the boats 
should wear our national flag, that they might at all times be known, 
and thus be free from any interruption by the guards. The boats 
were again despatched for the consul and letters, and after being 
anxiously watched for, returned ; every one on board ship expecting 
his wishes to be gratified with news from home; but, as is usual on 
such occasions, the number of the happy few bore no comparison 
to that of the many who were disappointed. 

Our vice-consul, Josiah Moore, Esq., soon paid us a visit, and gave 
us a pressing invitation to take up our quarters on shore while we 

vol. v. 74 


remained. To this gentleman and Mr. Sturges I am greatly indebted 
for much of the information that will be detailed in the following 

A number of vessels were lying in the roads, among which were 
several Americans loading with hemp. There was also a large Eng- 
lish East Indiaman, manned by Lascars, whose noise rendered her 
more like a floating Bedlam than any thing else to which I can liken it. 

The view of the city and country around Manilla partakes both of 
a Spanish and an Oriental character. The sombre and heavy-looking 
churches, with their awkward towers; the long lines of batteries 
mounted with heavy cannon; the massive houses, with ranges of 
balconies ; and the light and airy cottage, elevated on posts, situated 
in the luxuriant groves of tropical trees, — all excite a desire to become 
better acquainted with the country. 

Manilla is situated on an extensive plain, gradually swelling into 
distant hills, beyond which, again, mountains rise in the background, 
to the height of several thousand feet. The latter are apparently 
clothed with vegetation to their summits. The city is in strong 
contrast to this luxuriant scenery, bearing evident marks of decay, 
particularly in the churches, whose steeples and tile roofs have a 
dilapidated look. The site of the city does not appear to have been 
well chosen, it having apparently been selected entirely for the con- 
venience of commerce, and the communication that the outlet of the 
lake affords for the batteaux that transport the produce from the 
shores of the Laguna de Bay to the city. 

There are many arms or branches to this stream, which have been 
converted into canals ; and almost any part of Manilla may now be 
reached in a banca. 

In the afternoon, in company with Captain Hudson, I paid my first 
visit to Manilla. The anchorage considered safest for large ships 
is nearly three miles from the shore, but smaller vessels may lie 
much nearer, and even enter the canal ; a facility of which a number 
of these take advantage, to accomplish any repairs they may have 
occasion to make. 

The canal, however, is generally filled with coasting vessels, bat- 
teaux from the lake, and lighters for the discharge of the vessels 
lying in the roads. The bay of Manilla is safe, excepting during the 
change of the monsoons, when it is subject to the typhoons of the 
China seas, within whose range it lies. These blow at times with 
much force, and cause great damage. Foreign vessels have, how- 


ever, kept this anchorage, and rode out these storms in safety ; but 
native as well as Spanish vessels, seek at these times the port of 
Cavite, about three leagues to the southwest, and at the entrance of 
the bay, which is perfectly secure. Here the government dockyard 
is situated, and this harbour is consequently the resort of the few gun- 
boats and galleys that are stationed here. 

The entrance to the canal or river Pasig is three hundred feet 
wide, and is enclosed between two well-constructed piers, which 
extend for some distance into the bay. On the end of one of these 
is the light-house, and on the other a guard-house. The walls of 
these piers are about four feet above ordinary high water, and in- 
clude the natural channel of the river, whose current sets out with 
some force, particularly when the ebb is making in the bay. 

The suburbs, or Binondo quarter, contain more inhabitants than the 
city itself, and is the commercial town. They have all the stir and 
life incident to a large population actively engaged in trade, and in 
this respect the contrast with the city proper is great. 

The city of Manilla is built in the form of a large segment of a 
circle, having the chord of the segment on the river : the whole is 
strongly fortified, with walls and ditches. The houses are substan- 
tially built after the fashion of the mother country. Within the 
walls are the governor's palace, custom-house, treasury, admiralty, 
several churches, convents, and charitable institutions, a university, 
and the barracks for the troops ; it also contains some public squares, 
on one of which is a bronze statue of Charles IV. 

The city is properly deemed the court residence of these islands; 
and all those attached to the government, or who wish to be con- 
sidered as of the higher circle, reside here; but foreigners are not 
permitted to do so. The houses in the city are generally of stone, 
plastered, and white or yellow washed on the outside. They are 
only two stories high, and in consequence cover a large space, being 
built around a patio or courtyard. 

The ground-floors are occupied as storehouses, stables, and for 
porters' lodges. The second story is devoted to the dining-halls and 
sleeping apartments, kitchens, bath-rooms, &c. The bed-rooms have 
the windows down to the floor, opening on wide balconies, with blinds 
or shutters. These blinds are constructed with sliding frames, having 
small squares of two inches filled in with a thin semi-transparent 
shell, a species of Placuna ; the fronts of some of the houses have a 


large number of these small lights, where the females of the family 
may enjoy themselves unperceived. 

After entering the canal, we very soon found ourselves among a 
motley and strange population. On landing, the attention is drawn 
to the vast number of small stalls and shops with which the streets 
are lined on each side, and to the crowds of people passing to and fro, 
all intent upon their several occupations. The artisans in Manilla 
are almost wholly Chinese ; and all trades are local, so that in each 
quarter of the Binondo suburb the privilege of exclusive occupancy 
is claimed by some particular kinds of shops. In passing up the 
Escolta (which is the longest and main street in this district), the 
cabinet-makers, seen busily at work in their shops, are first met 
with; next to these come the tinkers and blacksmiths; then the shoe- 
makers, clothiers, fishmongers, haberdashers, &c. These are flanked 
by outdoor occupations; and in each quarter are numerous cooks, 
frying cakes, stewing, &c, in movable kitchens ; while here and there 
are to be seen betel-nut sellers, either moving about to obtain cus- 
tomers, or taking a stand in some great thoroughfare. The moving 
throng, composed of carriers, waiters, messengers, &c, pass quietly 
and without any noise : they are generally seen with the Chinese um- 
brella, painted of many colours, screening themselves from the sun. 
The whole population wear slippers, and move along with a slip- 
shod gait. 

The Chinese are apparently far more numerous than the Malays, 
and the two races differ as much in character as in appearance : one 
is all activity, while the other is disposed to avoid all exertion. 
They preserve their distinctive character throughout, mixing but 
very little with each other, and are removed as far as possible in their 
civilities; the former, from their industry and perseverance, have 
almost monopolized all the lucrative employments among the lower 
orders, excepting the selling of fish and betel-nut, and articles manu- 
factured in the provinces. 

On shore, we were kindly received by Mr. Moore, who at once 
made us feel at home. The change of feeling that takes place in 
a transfer from shipboard in a hot climate, after a long and arduous 
cruise, to spacious and airy apartments, surrounded by every luxury 
that kind attentions can give, can be scarcely imagined by those who 
have not experienced it. 

As we needed some repairs and supplies, to attend to these was my 


first occupation. Among the former, we reqtiired a heavy piece of 
blacksmith-work, to prepare which, we were obliged to send our 
armourers on shore. The only thing they could procure was a place 
for a forge ; but coal, and every thing else, we had to supply from 
the ship. I mention these things to show that those in want of repairs 
must not calculate upon their being done at Manilla with despatch, 
if they can be accomplished at all. 

The city government of Manilla was established on the 24th of 
June, 1571, and the title under which it is designated is, "The cele- 
brated and for ever royal city of Manilla." In 1595, the charter was 
confirmed by royal authority ; and all the prerogatives possessed by 
other cities in the kingdom were conferred upon it in 1638. The 
members of the city council, by authority of the king, were constituted 
a council of advisement with the governor and captain-general. The 
city magistrates were also placed in rank next the judges ; and in 
1686 the jurisdiction of the city was extended over a radius of five 
leagues. In 1818, the number of the council were increased and 
ordered to assume the title of " Excellency." Manilla has been one 
of the most constantly loyal cities of the Spanish kingdom, and is, in 
consequence, considered to merit these additional royal favours to its 

In 1834, the Royal Tribunal of Commerce was instituted, to super- 
sede the old consulate, which had been established since 1772. 
The Royal Tribunal of Commerce acts under the new commercial 
code, and possesses the same privileges of arbitration as the old con- 
sulate. It consists of a prior, two consuls, and four deputies, elected 
by the profession. The three first exercise consular jurisdiction, the 
other four superintend the encouragement of commerce. The " Junta 
de Commercio" (chamber of commerce) was formed in 1835. This 
junta consists of the Tribunal of Commerce, with four merchants, who 
are selected by the government, two of whom are removed annually. 
The prior of the Tribunal presides at the Junta, whose meetings are 
required to be held twice a month, or oftener if necessary, and 
upon days in which the Tribunal is not in session. The two courts 
being under the same influences, and having the same officers, little 
benefit is to be derived from their double action, and great com- 
plaints are made of the manner in which business is conducted in 

Of all her foreign possessions, the Philippines have cost Spain the 
vol. v. 75 

298 MANILL A. 

least blood and labour. The honour of their discovery belongs to 
Magelhaens, whose name is associated with the straits at the southern 
extremity of the American continent, but which has no memorial 
in these islands. Now that the glory which he gained by being 
the first to penetrate from the Atlantic to the Pacific, has been in 
some measure obliterated by disuse of those straits by navigators, it 
would seem due to his memory that some spot among these islands 
should be set apart to commemorate the name of him who made 
them known to Europe. This would be but common justice to the 
discoverer of a region which has been a source of so much honour 
and profit to the Spanish nation, who opened the vast expanse of the 
Pacific to the fleets of Europe, and who died fighting to secure the 
benefits of his enterprise to his king and country. 

Magelhaens was killed at the island of Matan, on the 26th of April, 
1521 ; and Duarte, the second in command, who succeeded him, im- 
prudently accepting an invitation from the chief of Febri to a feast, 
was, with twenty companions, massacred. Of all the Spaniards pre- 
sent, only one escaped. After these and various other misfortunes, 
only one vessel of the squadron, the Victoria, returned to Spain. Don 
Juan Sebastian del Cano, her commander, was complimented by his 
sovereign by a grant for his arms of a globe, with the proud inscrip- 
tion, commemorative of his being the first circumnavigator, 


Two years afterwards, a second expedition was fitted out, under 
the command of Loaisa, who died after they had passed through the 
Straits of Magelhaens, when they had been a year on their voyage. 
The command then fell upon Sebastian, who died in four days after 
his predecessor. Salayar succeeded to the command, and reached 
the Ladrone Islands, but shortly after leaving there he died also. 
They came in sight of Mindanao, but contrary winds obliged them 
to go to the Moluccas. When arrived at the Portuguese settlements, 
contentions and jealousies arose, and finally all the expedition was 
dispersed, and the fate of all but one of the vessels has become doubt- 
ful. None but the small tender returned, which, after encountering 
great difficulties, reached New Spain. 

The third expedition was fitted out by Cortes, then viceroy of 
Mexico, and the command of it given to Sarvedra. This sailed from 


the port of Silguattanjo, on the 31st of October, 1528, and stopped at 
the Ladrone Islands, of which it took possession for the crown of 
Spain. It afterwards went to Mindanao, and then pursued its voyage 
to Timor, where part of the expedition of Loaisa was found remain- 
ing. From Timor they made two attempts to return to New Spain, 
both of which failed. The climate soon brought on disease, which 
carried off a great number, and among them Sarvedra. Thus the 
whole expedition was broken up, and the survivors found their way 
to the Portuguese settlements. 

The fourth expedition was sent from New Spain, when under the 
government of Don Antonio de Mendoza, for the purpose of establish- 
ing a trade with the new islands, and it received orders not to visit 
the Moluccas. This expedition sailed in 1542, under the command 
of Villalobos. It reached the Philippine Islands without accident, 
and Villalobos gave them that name after Philip II., then prince of 
Asturias. Notwithstanding his positive instructions to the contrary, he 
was obliged to visit the Moluccas, and met the same treatment from 
the Portuguese that had been given to all whom they believed had 
any intention to interfere in their spice trade. The squadron touched 
at Ambonia, where Villalobos died, an event which caused the break- 
ing up of the expedition ; and the few Spaniards that remained em- 
barked in the Portuguese vessels to return home. 

The fifth and last expedition was ordered by Philip II. to be sent 
from Mexico, when under the government of Don Luis de Velasco, 
for the final conquest and settlement of the Philippines. With this 
expedition was sent Andres Urdaneta, a friar, whose reputation stood 
very high as a cosmographer : he had belonged to the ill-fated expe- 
dition of Loaisa. This was the largest that had yet been fitted out 
for this purpose, numbering five vessels and about four hundred men. 
The command of it was intrusted to Segaspi, under whom it sailed 
from the port of Natividad, on the 21st of November, 1564, and upon 
whom was conferred the title of governor and adelantado of the con- 
quered lands, with the fullest powers. On the 13th of February, 
1565, he arrived at the island of Sandaya, one of the Philippines: 
from thence he went to Leyte; there he obtained the son of a powerful 
chief as a guide, through whom he established peace with several of 
the native rulers, who thereafter aided the expedition with all the 
means in their power. At Bohol they built the first church. There 
he met and made peace with a chief of Luzon, with whom he went 
to that island. 


He now (April 1565) took possession of all the island in the name 
of the crown of Spain, and became their first governor. In this 
conquest, motives different from those which governed them on the 
American continent, seemed to have influenced the Spaniards. 
Instead of carrying on a cruel war against the natives, they here 
pursued the policy of encouraging and fostering their industry. 
Whether they felt that this policy was necessary for the success of 
their undertaking, or were influenced by the religious fathers who 
were with them, is uncertain ; but their measures seem to have been 
dictated by a desire to promote peace and secure the welfare of the 
inhabitants. There may be another cause for this course of action, 
namely, the absence of the precious metals, which held out no in- 
ducement to those thirsting for inordinate gain. This may have had 
its weight in exempting the expedition in its outfit from the presence 
of those avaricious spirits which had accompanied other Spanish 
expeditions, and been the means of marking their progress with exces- 
sive tyranny, bloodshed, and violence. It is evident to one who visits 
the Philippines that some other power besides the sword has been at 
work in them ; the natives are amalgamated with the Spaniards, and 
all seem disposed to cultivate the land and foster civilization. None 
of the feeling that grows out of conquest is to be observed in these 
islands; the two races are identified now in habits, manners, and 
religion, and their interests are so closely allied that they feel their 
mutual dependence upon each other. 

The establishment of the new constitution in Spain in the year 
1825, has had a wonderful effect upon these colonies, whose resources 
have within the last ten years been developed, and improvements 
pushed forward with a rapid step. Greater knowledge and more 
liberal views in the rulers are alone wanting to cause a still more 
rapid advance in the career of prosperity. 

As our visit was to Luzon, we naturally obtained more personal 
information respecting it than the other islands. We learned that 
the northern peninsula* was composed of granite and recent volcanic 
rocks, together with secondary and tertiary deposits, while the 
southern peninsula is almost wholly volcanic. 

The northern contains many valuable mines of gold, lead, copper, 
and iron, besides coal. A number of specimens of these, and the 

* It is called so in consequence of the island being nearly divided in the parallel 
of 14° N., by two bays. 


rocks which contain them, were presented to the Expedition by 
Sefiors Araria and Roxas of Manilla. These will claim particular 
attention in the Geological Report, to which the reader is referred 
for information. 

So far as our information and observations went, the whole of the 
Philippine Islands are of similar geological formation. In some of 
the islands the volcanic rock prevails, while in others coal and the 
metalliferous deposits predominate. On some of them the coal-beds 
form part of the cliffs along the shore; on others, copper is found 
in a chlorite and talcose state. The latter is more particularly the 
case with Luzon, and the same formation extends to Mindoro. 
Much iron occurs on the mountains. Thus, among the Tagala 
natives, who are yet unsubdued by the Spaniards, and who inhabit 
these mountains, it is found by them of so pure a quality that it is 
manufactured into swords and cleavers. These are, occasionally, 
obtained by the Spaniards in their excursions into the interior against 
these bands. 

The country around Manilla is composed of tufa of a light gray 
colour, which being soft and easily worked, is employed as the 
common building material in the city. It contains, sometimes, scoria 
and pumice, in pieces of various sizes, besides, occasionally, impres- 
sions of plants, with petrified woods. These are confined to recent 
species, and include palms, &c. 

This tufa forms one of the remarkable features of the volcanoes of 
the Philippine Islands, showing a strong contrast between them and 
those of the Pacific isles, which have ejected little else than lava and 

Few portions of the globe seem to be so much the seat of internal 
fires, or to exhibit the effects of volcanic action so strongly as the 
Philippines. During our visit, it was not known that any of the 
volcanoes were in action ; but many of them were smoking, parti- 
cularly that in the district of Albay, called Isaroc. Its latest erup- 
tion was in the year 1839 ; but this did little damage compared with 
that of 1814, which covered several villages, and the country for a 
great distance around, with ashes. This mountain is situated to the 
southeast of Manilla one hundred and fifty miles, and is said to be a 
perfect cone, with a crater at its apex. 

It does not appear that the islands are much affected by earth- 
quakes, although some have occasionally occurred that have done 
damage to the churches at Manilla. 

VOL. V. 70 


The coal which we have spoken of is deemed of value ; it has a 
strong resemblance to the bituminous coal of our own country, pos- 
sesses a bright lustre, and appears very free from all woody texture 
when fractured. It is found associated with sandstone, which con- 
tains many fossils. Lead and copper are reported as being very 
abundant; gypsum and limestone occur in some districts. From this, 
it will be seen that these islands have every thing in the mineral way 
to constitute them desirable possessions. 

With such mineral resources, and a soil capable of producing the 
most varied vegetation of the tropics, a liberal policy is all that the 
country lacks. The products of the Philippine Islands consist of 
sugar, coffee, hemp, indigo, rice, tortoise-shell, hides, ebony, saffron- 
wood, sulphur, cotton, cordage, silk, pepper, cocoa, wax, and many 
other articles. In their agricultural operations the people are indus- 
trious, although much labour is lost by the use of defective imple- 
ments. The plough, of very simple construction, has been adopted 
from the Chinese ; it has no coulter, the share is fiat, and being turned 
partly to one side, answers, in a certain degree, the purpose of a mould- 
board. This rude implement is sufficient for the rich soils, where the 
tillage depends chiefly upon the harrow, in constructing which a 
thorny species of bamboo is used. The harrow is formed of five or 
six pieces of this material, on which the thorns are left, firmly fastened 
together. It answers its purpose well, and is seldom out of order. A 
wrought-iron harrow, that was introduced by the Jesuits, is used for 
clearing the ground more effectually, and more particularly for the 
purpose of extirpating a troublesome grass, that is known by the name 
of cogon (a species of Andropogon), of which it is very difficult to rid 
the fields. The bolo or long-knife, a basket, and hoe, complete the 
list of implements, and answer all the purposes of our spades, &c. 

The buffalo was used until within a few years exclusively in their 
agriculture, and they have lately taken to the use of the ox ; but horses 
are never used. The buffalo, from the slowness of his motions, and 
his exceeding restlessness under the heat of the climate, is ill adapted 
to agricultural labour ; but the natives are very partial to them, not- 
withstanding they occasion them much labour and trouble in bathing 
them during the great heat. This is absolutely necessary, or the 
animal becomes so fretful as to be unfit for use. If it were not for 
this, the buffalo would, notwithstanding his slow pace, be a most 
effective animal in agricultural operations ; he requires little food, 
and that of the coarsest kind ; his strength surpasses that of the 


stoutest ox, and he is admirably adapted for the rice or paddy fields. 
They are very docile when used by the natives, and even children 
can manage them ; but it is said they have a great antipathy to the 
whites, and all strangers. The usual mode of guiding them is by a 
small cord attached to the cartilage of the nose. The yoke rests on 
the neck before the shoulders, and is of simple construction. To 
this is attached whatever it may be necessary to draw, either by 
traces, shafts, or other fastenings. Frequently this animal may be 
seen with lar^e bundles of bamboo lashed to them on each side. 
Buffaloes are to be met with on the lake, with no more than their 
noses and eyes out of the water, and are not visible until they are ap- 
proached within a few feet, when they cause alarm to the passengers 
by raising their large forms close to the boat. It is said that they 
resort to the lake to feed on a favourite grass that grows on its bottom 
in shallow water, and which they dive for. Their flesh is not eaten, 
except that of the young ones, for it is tough and tasteless. The milk 
is nutritious, and of a character between that of the goat and cow. 

The general appearance of the buffalo is that of a hybrid of the 
bull and rhinoceros. Its horns do not rise upwards, are very close 
at the roots, bent backwards, and. of a triangular form, with a flat 
side above. One of the peculiarities of the buffalo is its voice, which 
is quite low, and in the minor key, resembling that of a young colt. 
It is as fond of mire as swine, and shows the consequence of recent 
wallowing, in being crusted over with mud. The skin is visible, 
being but thinly covered with hair; its colour is usually that of a 
mouse ; in some individuals darker. 

Rice is, perhaps, of their agricultural products, the article upon 
which the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands most depend for food 
and profit; of this they have several different varieties, which the 
natives distinguish by their size and the shape of the grain : the 
birnambang, lamuyo, malagequit, bontot-cabayo, dumali, quinanda, 
bolohan, and tangi. The three first are aquatic ; the five latter up- 
land varieties. They each have their peculiar uses. The dumali 
is the early variety ; it ripens in three months from planting, from 
which circumstance it derives its name : it is raised exclusively on 
the uplands. Although much esteemed, it is not extensively culti- 
vated, as the birds and insects destroy a large part of the crop. 

The malagequit is very much prized, and used for making sweet 
and fancy dishes; it becomes exceedingly glutinous, for which reason 
it is used in making whitewash, which it is said to cause to become 


of a brilliant white, and to withstand the weather. This variety is 
not, however, believed to be wholesome. There is also a variety of 
this last species which is used as food for horses, and supposed to be 
a remedy and preventive against worms. 

The rice grounds or fields are laid out in squares, and surrounded 
by embankments, to retain the water of the rains or streams. After 
the rains have fallen in sufficient quantities to saturate the ground, 
a seed-bed is generally planted in one corner of the field, in which the 
rice is sown broadcast, about the month of June. The heavy rains 
take place in August, when the fields are ploughed, and are soon filled 
with water. The young plants are about this time taken from the 
seed-bed, their tops and roots trimmed, and then planted in the field 
by making holes in the ground with the fingers and placing four or 
five sprouts in each of them ; in this tedious labour the poor women 
are employed, whilst the males are lounging in their houses or in 
the shade of the trees. 

The harvest for the aquatic rice begins in December. It is reaped 
with small sickles, peculiar to the country, called yatap ; to the back 
of these a small stick is fastened, by which they are held, and the 
stalk is forced upon it and cut. The spikes of rice are cut with this 
implement, one by one. In this operation, men, women, and children 
all take part. 

The upland rice requires much more care and labour in its cultiva- 
tion. The land must be ploughed three or four times, and all the 
turf and lumps well broken up by the harrow. 

During its growth it requires to be weeded two or three times, to 
keep the weeds from choking the crop. The seed is sown broadcast 
in May. This kind of rice is harvested in November, and to collect 
the crop is still more tedious than in the other case, for it is always 
gathered earlier, and never reaped, in consequence of the grain not 
adhering to the ear. If it were gathered in any other way, the loss 
by transportation on the backs of buffaloes and horses, without any 
covering to the sheaf, would be so great as to dissipate a great portion 
of the crop. 

It appears almost incredible that any people can remain in igno- 
rance of a way of preventing so extravagant and oppressive a mode 
of harvesting. The government has been requested to prohibit it on 
account of the great expense it gives rise to; but whether any steps 
have ever been taken in the matter, I did not learn. It is said that 
not unfrequently a third part of the crop is lost, in consequence of the 


scarcity of labourers; while those who are disengaged will refuse to 
work, unless they receive one-third, and even one-half of the crop, to 
be delivered free of expense at their houses. This the planters are 
often obliged to give, or lose the whole crop. Nay, unless the harvest 
is a good one, reapers are very unwilling to engage to take it even on 
these terms, and the entire crop is lost. The labourers, during the 
time of harvest, are supported by the planter, who is during that 
time exposed to great vexation, if not losses. The reapers are for the 
most part composed of the idle and vicious part of the population, 
who go abroad over the country to engage themselves in this employ- 
ment, which affords a livelihood to the poorer classes ; for the different 
periods at which the varieties of rice are planted and harvested, gives 
them work during a large portion of the year. 

After the rice is harvested, there are different modes of treating it. 
Some of the proprietors take it home, where it is thrown into heaps, 
and left until it is desirable to separate it from the straw, when it 
is trodden out by men and women with their bare feet. For this 
operation, they usually receive another fifth of the rice. 

Others stack it in a wet and green state, which subjects it to heat, 
from which cause the grain contracts a dark colour, and an unplea- 
sant taste and smell. The natives, however, impute these defects to 
the wetness of the season. 

The crop of both the low and upland rice, is usually from thirty to 
fifty for one : this is on old land ; but on that which is newly cleared, 
or which has never been cultivated, the yield is far beyond this. In 
some soils of the latter description, it is said that for a chupa (seven 
cubic inches) planted, the yield has been a caban. The former is the 
two-hundred-and-eighth part of the latter. This is not the only 
advantage gained in planting rich lands, but the saving of labour is 
equally great; for all that is required is to make a hole with the 
fingers, and place three or four grains in it. The upland rice requires 
but little water, and is never irrigated. 

The cultivator in the Philippine Islands is always enabled to secure 
plenty of manure ; for vegetation is so luxuriant that by pulling the 
weeds and laying them with earth, a good stock is quickly obtained, 
with which to cover his fields. Thus, although the growth is so rank 
as to cause him labour, yet in this hot climate its decay is equally 
rapid, which tends to make his labours more successful. 

The rice-stacks form a picturesque object on the field ; they are 
vol. v. 77 



generally placed around or near a growth of bamboo, whose tall, 
graceful, and feathery outline is of itself a beautiful object, but con- 
nected as it is often seen with the returns of the harvest, it furnishes 

an additional source of gratification. 


-v Si 


The different kinds of rice, and especially the upland, would no 
doubt be an acquisition to our country. At the time we were at 
Manilla, it was not thought feasible to pack it, for it had just been 
reaped, and was so green that it would not have kept.* Although 
rice is a very prolific crop, yet it is subject to many casualties, from 
the locusts and other insects that devour it; the drought at other 
times affects it, particularly the aquatic varieties. There is a use to 
which the rice is applied here, which was new to us, namely, as a 
substitute for razors ; by using two grains of it between the fingers, 
they nip the beard, or extract it from the chin and face. 

* Since my return home, at the desire of that distinguished agriculturist, Colonel 
Austin, of South Carolina, I have sent for some samples of the different kinds, and under 
his care it will no doubt be well treated. 


Among the important productions of these islands, I have men- 
tioned hemp, although the article called Manilla hemp must not be • 
understood to be derived from the plant which produces the common 
hemp (Cannabis), being obtained from a species of plantain (Musa 
textilis), called in the Philippines the "abaca." This is a native 
of these islands, and was formerly believed to be found only on 
Mindanao ; but this is not the case, for it is cultivated on the south 
part of Luzon, and all the islands south of it. It grows on high 
ground, in rich soil, and is propagated by seeds. It resembles 
the other plants of the tribe of plantains, but its fruit is much 
smaller, although edible. The fibre is derived from the stem, and 
the plant attains the height of fifteen or twenty feet. The usual 
mode of preparing the hemp is to cut off the stem near the ground, 
before the time or just when the fruit is ripe. The stem is then 
eight or ten feet long below the leaves, where it is again cut. The 
outer coating of the herbaceous stem is then stripped off, until the 
fibres or cellular parts are seen, wmen it undergoes the process of 
rotting, and after being well dried in houses and sheds, is prepared 
for market by assorting it, a task which is performed by the women 
and children. That which is intended for cloth is soaked for an hour 
or two, in weak lime-water prepared from sea-shells, again dried, and 
put up in bundles. From all the districts in which it grows, it is 
sent to Manilla, which is the only port whence it can legally be ex- 
ported. It arrives in large bundles, and is packed there, by means of 
a screw-press, in compact bales, for shipping, secured by rattan, each 
weighing two piculs. 

The best Manilla hemp ought to be white, dry, and of a long and 
fine fibre. This is known at Manilla by the name of lupis; the second 
quality they call bandala. 

The exportation has much increased within the last few years, in 
consequence of the demand for it in the United States; and the 
whole crop is now monopolized by the two American houses of 
Sturges & Co., and T. N. Peale & Co., of Manilla, who buy all 
of good quality that comes to market. This is divided between the 
two houses, and the price they pay is from four to five dollars the 
picul. The entire quantity raised in 1840 was eighty-three thousand 
seven hundred and ninety piculs; in 1841, eighty-seven thousand. 

The quantity exported to the United States in 1840, was sixty- 
eight thousand two hundred and eighty piculs, and in 1841, only 


sixty -two thousand seven hundred piculs ; its value in Manilla is 
about three hundred thousand dollars. Twenty thousand piculs go 
to Europe. There are no duties on its exportation. 

That which comes to the United States is principally manufactured 
in or near Boston, and is the cordage known as " white rope." The 
cordage manufactured at Manilla is, however, very superior to the 
rope made with us, although the hemp is of the inferior kind. A 
large quantity is also manufactured into mats. 

In the opinion of our botanist, it is not probable that the plant could 
be introduced with success into our country, for in the Philippines it 
is not found north of latitude 14° N. 

The coffee-plant is well adapted to these islands. A few plants 
were introduced into the gardens of Manilla, about fifty years ago, 
since which time it has been spread all over the island, as is supposed 
by the civet-cats, which, after swallowing the seeds, carry them to a 
distance before they are voided. 

The coffee of commerce is obtained here from the wild plant, and 
is of an excellent quality. Upwards of three thousand five hundred 
piculs are now exported, of which one-sixth goes to the United States. 

The sugar-cane thrives well here. It is planted after the French 
fashion, by sticking the piece diagonally into the ground. Some, 
finding the cane has suffered in times of drought, have adopted 
other modes. It comes to perfection in a year, and they seldom 
have two crops from the same piece of land, unless the season is 
very favourable. 

There are many kinds of cane cultivated, but that grown in the 
valley of Pampanga is thought to be the best. It is a small red 
variety, from four to five feet high, and not thicker than the thumb. 
The manufacture of the sugar is rudely conducted ; and the whole 
business, I was told, was in the hands of a few capitalists, who, by 
making advances, secure the whole crop from those who are employed 
to bring it to market. It is generally brought in moulds, of the usual 
conical shape, called pilones, which are delivered to the purchaser 
from November to June, and contain each about one hundred and 
fifty pounds. On their receipt, they are placed in large storehouses, 
where the familiar operation of claying is performed. The estimate 
for the quantity of sugar from these pilones after this process is 
about one hundred pounds ; it depends upon the care taken in the 


Of cotton they raise a considerable quantity, which is of a fine 
quality, and principally of the yellow nankeen. In the province of 
Ylocos it is cultivated most extensively. The mode of cleaning it of 
its seed is very rude, by means of a hand-mill, and the expense of 
cleaning a picul (one hundred and forty pounds) is from five to seven 
dollars. There, have, as far as I have understood, been no endeavours 
to introduce any cotton-gins from our country. 

It will be merely necessary to give the prices at which labourers 
are paid, to show how low the compensation is, in comparison with 
those in our own country. In the vicinity of Manilla, twelve and a 
half cents per day is the usual wages ; this in the provinces falls to 
nine and six cents. A man with two buffaloes is paid about thirty 
cents. The amount of labour performed by the latter in a day would 
be the ploughing of a soane, about two-tenths of an acre. The most 
profitable way of employing labourers is by the task, when, it is said, 
the natives work well, and are industrious. 

The manner in which the sugar and other produce is brought to 
market at Manilla is peculiar, and deserves to be mentioned. In 
some of the villages, the chief men unite to build a vessel, generally 
a pirogue, in which they embark their produce, under the conduct of 
a few persons, who go to navigate it, and dispose of the cargo. In due 
time they make their voyage, and when the accounts are settled, the 
returns are distributed to each according to his share. Festivities 
are then held, the saints thanked for their kindness, and blessings 
invoked for another year. After this is over, the vessel is taken care- 
fully to pieces, and distributed among the owners, to be preserved for 
the next season. 

The profits in the crops, according to estimates, vary from sixty to 
one hundred per cent. ; but it was thought, as a general average, 
that this was, notwithstanding the great productiveness of the soil, 
far beyond the usual profits accruing from agricultural operations. 
In some provinces this estimate would hold good, and probably be 

Indigo would probably be a lucrative crop, for that raised here is 
said to be of a quality equal to the best, and the crop is not subject to 
so many uncertainties as in India : the capital and attention required 
in vats, &c, prevent it from being raised in any quantities. Among 
the productions, the bamboo and rattan ought to claim a particular 
notice, from their great utility : they enter into almost every thing. 
Of the former their houses are built, including frames, floors, sides, 

vol. v. 78 


and roof; fences are made of the same material, as well as every 
article of general household use, including baskets for oil and water. 
The rattan is a general substitute for ropes of all descriptions, and 
the two combined are used in constructing rafts for crossing ferries. 

I have thus given a general outline of the capabilities of this 
country for agricultural operations, in some of the most important 
articles of commerce; by which it will be seen that the Philippine 
Islands are one of the most favoured parts of the globe. 

The crops frequently suffer from the attacks of the locusts, which 
sweep all before them. Fortunately for the poorer classes, their 
attacks take place after the rice has been harvested ; but the cane is 
sometimes entirely cut off. The authorities of Manilla, in the vain 
hope of stopping their devastations, employ persons to gather them 
and throw them into the sea. I understood on one occasion they had 
spent eighty thousand dollars in this way, but all to little purpose. 
It is said that the crops rarely suffer from droughts, but on the con- 
trary the rains are thought to fall too often, and to flood the rice 
fields; these, however, yield a novel crop, and are very advantageous 
to the poor, viz. : a great quantity of fish, which are called dalag, and 
are a species of Blunnius ; they are so plentiful that they are 
caught with baskets : these fish weigh from a half to two pounds, 
and some are said to be eighteen inches long : but this is not all ; 
they are said, after a deep inundation, to be found even in the vaults 
of churches. 

The Philippines are divided into thirty-one provinces, sixteen of 
which are on the island of Luzon, and the remainder comprise the 
other islands of the group and the Ladrones. 

The population of the whole group is above three millions, includ- 
ing all tribes of natives, mestizoes, and whites. The latter-named 
class are but few in number, not exceeding three thousand. The 
mestizoes were supposed to be about fifteen or twenty thousand : 
they are distinguished as Spanish and Indian mestizoes. The Chi- 
nese have of late years increased to a large number, and it is said 
that there are forty thousand of them in and around Manilla alone. 
One-half of the whole population belongs to Luzon. The island next 
to it in the number of inhabitants is Panay, which contains about 
three hundred and thirty thousand. Then come Zebu, Mindanao, 
Leyte, Samar, and Negros, varying from the above numbers down 
to fifty thousand. The population is increasing, and it is thought 
that it doubles itself in seventy years. This rate of increase appears 

}.> i,'-- '-"<■:' 
iff va* * 



probable, from a comparison of tbe present population with the esti- 
mate made at the beginning of the present century, which shows a 
growth in the forty years of about one million four hundred thousand. 


The native population is composed of a number of distinct tribes, 
the principal of which in Luzon are Pangarihan, Ylocos, Cagayan, 
Tagala, and Pampangan. 

The Irogotes, who dwell in the mountains, are the only natives 
who have not been subjected by the Spaniards. The other tribes 
have become identified with their rulers in religion, and it is thought 
that by this circumstance alone has Spain been able to maintain the 
ascendency with so small a number, over such a numerous, intelli- 
gent, and energetic race as they are represented to be. This is, 
however, more easily accounted for, from the Spaniards fostering and 
keeping alive the jealousy and hatred that existed at the time of the 
discovery between the different tribes. 

It seems almost incredible that Spain should have so long persisted 
in the policy of allowing no more than one galleon to pass annually 
between her colonies, and equally so that the nations of Europe 
should have been so long deceived in regard to the riches and wealth 
that Spain was monopolizing in the Philippines. The capture of 
Manilla, in 1762, by the English, first gave a clear idea of the value 
of this remote and little-known appendage of the empire. 

The Philippines, considered in their capacity for commerce, are 
certainly among the most favoured portions of the globe, and there is 


but one circumstance that tends in the least degree to lessen their 
apparent advantage : this is the prevalence of typhoons in the China 
seas, which are occasionally felt with force to the north of latitude 
10° N. South of that parallel, they have never been known to pre- 
vail, and seldom so far ; but from their unfailing occurrence yearly in 
some part of the China seas, they are looked for with more or less 
dread, and cause each season a temporary interruption in all the trade 
that passes along the coast of these islands. 

The army is now composed entirely of native troops, who number 
about six thousand men, and the regiments are never suffered to 
serve in the provinces in which they are recruited, but those from 
the north are sent to the south, and vice versa. There they are em- 
ployed to keep up a continual watch on each other : and, speaking 
different dialects, they never become identified. 

They are, indeed, never allowed to remain long enough in one 
region, to imbibe any feelings in unison with those of its inhabitants. 
The hostility is so great among the regiments, that mutinies have 
occurred, and contests arisen which have produced even bloodshed, 
which it was entirely out of the power of the officers to prevent. In 
cases of this kind, summary punishment is resorted to. 

Although the Spaniards, as far as is known abroad, live in peace 
and quiet, this is far from being the case ; for rebellion and revolts 
among the troops and tribes are not unfrequent in the provinces. 
During the time of our visit one of these took place, but it was 
impossible to learn any thing concerning it that could be relied upon, 
for all conversation respecting such occurrences is interdicted by the 
government. The difficulty to which I refer was said to have 
originated from the preaching of a fanatic priest, who inflamed 
them to such a degree that they overthrew the troops and became 
temporarily masters of the country. Prompt measures were imme- 
diately taken, and orders issued to give the rebels no quarter ; the 
regiments most hostile to those engaged in the revolt were ordered to 
the spot ; they spared no one ; the priest and his companions were 
taken, put to death, and according to report, in a manner so cruel as 
to be a disgrace to the records of the nineteenth century. Although 
I should hope the accounts I heard of these transactions were incor- 
rect, yet the detestation these acts were held in, would give some 
colour to the statements. 

The few gazettes that are published at Manilla are entirely under 
the control of the government ; and a resident of that city must make 


up his mind to remain in ignorance of the things that are passing 
around him, or believe just what the authorities will allow to be told, 
whether truth or falsehood. The government of the Philippines is 
emphatically an iron rule : how long it can continue so, is doubtful. 

One of my first duties was to make an official call upon his Excel- 1 
lency Don Marcelino Oroa, who is the sixty-first governor of the 
Philippine Islands. According to the established etiquette, Mr. Moore, 
the vice-consul, announced our desire to do so, and requested to be 
informed of the time when we would be received. This was accord- 
ingly named, and at the appointed hour we proceeded to the palace 
in the city proper. On our arrival, we were announced and led up a 
flight of steps, ample and spacious, but by no means of such splen- 
dour as would indicate the residence of vice-royalty. The suite of 
rooms into which we were ushered were so dark that it was difficult to 
see. I made out, however, that they were panelled, and by no means 
richly furnished. His excellency entered from a side-door, and led 
us through two or three apartments into his private audience-room, an 
apartment not quite so dark as those we had come from : our being 
conducted to this, I was told afterwards, was to be considered an 
especial mark of respect to my country. His reception of us was 
friendly. The governor has much more the appearance of an Irish- 
man than of a Spaniard, being tall, portly, of a florid complexion. He 
is apparently more than sixty years of age. He was dressed in a full 
suit of black, with a star on his breast. 

Mr. Moore acted as interpreter, and the governor readily acceded 
to my request to be allowed to send a party into the interior for a 
few days ; a permission which I almost despaired of receiving, for I 
knew that he had refused a like application some few months before. 
The refusal, however, I think was in part owing to the character of 
the applicants, and the doubtful object they had in view. I impute 
the permission we received to the influence of our consul, together 
with Mr. Sturges, whose agreeable manners, conciliatory tone, and 
high standing with the authorities, will, I am satisfied, insure us at 
all times every reasonable advantage or facility. 

The term of the governor in office is three years, and the present 
incumbent was installed in 1841. This length of time is thought to be 
sufficient for any one of them to make a fortune. The office is held 
by the appointment of the ministry in Spain, and with it are connected 
perquisites that are shared, it is said, by those who confer them. 

vol. v. 79 


After having paid our respects to his excellency, we drove to visit 
several other officers of the government, who received us without cere- 
mony. We generally found them in loose morning gowns, smoking, 
and cigars were invariably offered us; for this habit appears in 
Manilla to extend to all ranks. Even in the public offices of the 
custom-house it was the fashion, and cigars, with a machero for 
striking a light, or a jost-stick kept burning, were usually seen in 
every apartment. 

To the captain of the port, Don Juan Salomon, I feel under many 
obligations for his attentions. I was desirous of obtaining information 
relative to the Sooloo Seas, and to learn how far the Spanish surveys 
had been carried. He gave me little hopes of obtaining any ; but 
referred me to Captain Halcon, of the Spanish Navy, who had been 
employed surveying some part of the coast of the islands to the north. 
The latter, whom I visited, on my making the inquiry of him, and 
stating the course I intended to pursue, frankly told me that all the 
existing charts were erroneous. He only knew enough of the ground 
to be certain that they were so, and consequently useless. He advised 
my taking one of the native pilots, who were generally well ac- 
quainted with the seas that lay more immediately in my route. The 
captain of the port was afterwards kind enough to offer to procure me 

The intercourse I had with these gentlemen was a source of 
much gratification, and it gives me great pleasure to make this public 
expression of it. To both, my sincere acknowledgments are due for 
information in relation to the various reefs and shoals that have been 
recently discovered, and which will be found placed in their true posi- 
tion on our charts. 

During our stay at Manilla, our time was occupied in seeing sights, 
shopping, riding, and amusing ourselves with gazing on the throng 
incessantly passing through the Escolta of the Binondo suburb, or 
more properly, the commercial town of Manilla. 

Among the lions of the place, the great royal cigar manufactories 
claim especial notice from their extent and the many persons em- 
ployed. There are two of these establishments, one situated in the 
Binondo quarter, and the other on the great square or Prado; in 
the former, which was visited by us, there are two buildings of two 
stories high, besides several storehouses, enclosed by a wall, with two 
large gateways, at which sentinels are always posted. The principal 


workshop is in the second story, which is divided into six apartments, 
in which eight thousand females are employed. Throughout the 
whole extent, tables are arranged, about sixteen inches high, ten feet 
long, and three feet wide, at each of which fifteen women are seated, 
having small piles of tobacco before them. The tables are set cross- 
wise from the wall, leaving a space in the middle of the room free. 
The labour of a female produces about two hundred cigars a day ; 
and the working hours are from 6 a. m. till 6 p. m., with a recess of 
two hours, from eleven till one o'clock. The whole establishment is 
kept very neat and clean, and every thing appears to be carried on in 
the most systematic and workmanlike manner. Among such numbers, 
it has been found necessary to institute a search on their leaving the 
establishment to prevent embezzlement, and this is regularly made 
twice a day, without distinction of sex. It is a strange sight to 
witness the ingress and egress of these hordes of females ; and pro- 
bably the world cannot elsewhere exhibit so large a number of ugly 
women. Their ages vary from fifteen to forty-five. The sum paid 
them for wages is very trifling. The whole number of persons em- 
ployed in the manufactories is about fifteen thousand ; this includes 
the officers, clerks, overseers, &c. 

As nearly as I could ascertain, the revenue derived from these esta- 
blishments is half a million of dollars. 

The natives of the Philippines are industrious. They manufacture 
an amount of goods sufficient to supply their own wants, particularly 
from Panay and Ylocos. These for the most part consist of cotton 
and silks, and a peculiar article called pina. The latter is manufac- 
tured from a species of Bromelia (pine-apple), and comes principally 
from the island of Panay. The finest kinds of pina are exceedingly 
beautiful, and surpass any other material in its evenness and beauty 
of texture. Its colour is yellowish, and the embroidery is fully equal 
to the material. It is much sought after by all strangers, and consi- 
dered as one of the curiosities of this group. Various reports have 
been stated of the mode of its manufacture, and among others that it 
was woven under water, which I found, upon inquiry, to be quite 
erroneous. The web of the pina is so fine, that they are obliged to 
prevent all currents of air from passing through the rooms where it is 
manufactured, for which purpose there are gauze screens in the 
windows. After the article is brought to Manilla, it is then embroi- 
dered by girls; this last operation adds greatly to its value. We 


visited one of the houses where this was in progress, and where the 
most skilful workwomen are employed. 

On mounting the stairs of bamboos, every step we took produced 
its creak ; but, although the whole seemed but a crazy affair, yet it- 
did not want for strength, being well and firmly bound together. 
There were two apartments, each about thirteen by twenty-five feet, 
which could be divided by screens, if required. At the end of it 
were seen about forty females, all busily plying their needles, and so 
closely seated as apparently to incommode each other. The mistress 
of the manufactory, who was quite young, gave us a friendly recep- 
tion, and showed us the whole process of drawing the threads and 
working the patterns, which, in many cases, were elegant. A great 
variety of dresses, scarfs, caps, collars, cuffs, and pocket-handker- 
chiefs, were shown us. These were mostly in the rough state, and 
did not strike us with that degree of admiration which was expected. 
They, however, had been in hand for six months, and were soiled by 
much handling; but when others were shown us in the finished state, 
washed and put up, they were such as to claim our admiration. 

I was soon attracted by a very different sight at the other end of 
the apartment. This was a dancing-master and his scholar, of six 
years old, the daughter of the woman of the house. It was exceed- 
ingly amusing to see the airs and graces of this child. 

For music they had a guitar ; and I never witnessed a ballet that 
gave me more amusement, or saw a dancer that evinced more grace, 
ease, confidence, and decided talent, than did this little girl. She 
was prettily formed, and was exceedingly admired and applauded 
by us all. Her mother considered her education as finished, and 
looked on with all the admiration and fondness of parental affection. 

On inquiry, I found that the idea of teaching her to read and write 
had not yet been entertained. Yet every expense is incurred to teach 
them to use their feet and arms, and to assume the expression of 
countenance that will enable them to play a part in the after-scenes 
of life. 

This manufactory had work engaged for nine months or a year 
in advance. The fabric is extremely expensive, and none but the 
wealthy can afford it. It is also much sought after by foreigners. 
Even orders for Queen Victoria and many of the English nobility 
were then in hand ; at least I so heard at Manilla. Those who are 
actually present have, notwithstanding, the privilege of selecting 


what they wish to purchase; for, with the inhabitants here, as else- 
where, ready money has too much attraction for them to forego the 

Time in Manilla seems to hang heavily on the hands of some of its 
inhabitants; their amusements are few, and the climate ill adapted to' 
exertion. The gentlemen of the higher classes pass their morning in 
the transaction of a little public business, lounging about, smoking, 
&c. In the afternoon, they sleep, and ride on the Prado; and in the 
evening, visit their friends, or attend a tertulia. The ladies are to be 
pitied ; for they pass three-fourths of their time in dishabille, with 
their maids around them, sleeping, dressing, lolling, and combing 
their hair. In this way the whole morning is lounged away : they 
neither read, write, nor work. In dress they generally imitate the 
Europeans, except that they seldom wear stockings, and go with 
their arms bare. In the afternoon they ride on the Prado in state, 
and in the evening accompany their husbands. Chocolate is taken 
early in the morning, breakfast at eleven, and dinner and supper are 
included in one meal. 

Mothers provide for the marriage of their daughters ; and I was told 
that such a thing as a gentleman proposing to any one but the mother, 
or a young lady engaging herself, is unknown and unheard of. The 
negotiation is all carried forward by the mother, and the daughter is 
given to any suitor she may deem a desirable match. The young 
ladies are said to be equally disinclined to a choice themselves, and if 
proposals were made to them, the suitor would be at once referred to 
the mother. Among the lower orders it is no uncommon thing for 
the parties to be living without the ceremony of marriage, until they 
have a family; and no odium whatever is attached to such a con- 
nexion. They are looked upon as man and wife, though they do not 
live together; they rarely fail to solemnize their union when they 
have accumulated sufficient property to procure the requisite articles 
for housekeeping. 

Three nights in each week they have music in the plaza, in front 
of the governor's palace, by the bands of four different regiments, 
who collect there after the evening parade. Most of the better class 
resort here, for the pleasure of enjoying it. We went thither to see 
the people as well as to hear the music. This is the great resort of 
the haut ton, who usually have their carriages in waiting, and prome- 
nade in groups backwards and forwards during the time the music is 

VOL. V. 80 


playing. This is by far the best opportunity that one can have for 
viewing the society of Manilla, which seems as easy and unrestrained 
as the peculiar gravity and ceremonious mode of intercourse among 
the old Spaniards can admit. Before the present governor took office, 
it had been the custom to allow the bands to play on the Prado every 
fine evening, when all the inhabitants could enjoy it until a late hour; 
but he has interdicted this practice, and of course given much dis- 
satisfaction ; he is said to have done this in a fit of ill temper, and 
although importuned to restore this amusement to the common people, 
he pertinaciously refuses. 

The bands of the regiments are under the direction of Frenchmen 
and Spaniards : the musicians are all natives, and play with a correct 

Our afternoons were spent in drives on the Prado, where all the 
fashion and rank of Manilla are to be met, and where it is exceedingly 
agreeable to partake of the fresh and pure air after a heated day in 
the city. The extreme end of the Prado lies along the shore of the 
bay of Manilla, having the roadstead and ships on one side, and the 
city proper with its fortifications and moats on the other. This drive 
usually lasts for an hour, and all sorts of vehicles are shown off, 
from the governor's coach and six, surrounded by his lancers, to the 
sorry chaise and limping nag. The carriage most used is a four- 
wheeled biloche, with a gig top, quite low, and drawn by two horses, 
on one of which is a postilion ; these vehicles are exceedingly com- 
fortable for two persons. The horses are small, but spirited, and are 
said to be able to undergo great fatigue, although their appearance 
does not promise it. This drive is enlivened by the music of the 
different regiments, who are at this time to be seen manoeuvring on 
the Prado. The soldiers have a very neat and clean appearance; 
great attention is paid to them, and the whole are well appointed. 
The force stationed in Manilla is six thousand, and the army in 
the Philippines amounts to twenty thousand men. The officers are 
all Spaniards, generally the relations and friends of those in the 
administration of the government. The pay of the soldiers is four 
dollars a month, and a ration, which is equal to six cents a day. As 
troops, I was told they acquitted themselves well. The Prado is laid 
out in many avenues, leading in various directions to the suburbs, 
and these are planted with wild almond trees, which afford a pleasant 
shade. It is well kept, and creditable to the city. 


In passing the crowds of carriages very little display of female 
beauty is observed, and although well-dressed above, one cannot but 
revert to their wearing no stockings beneath. 

On the Prado is a small theatre, but so inferior that the building 
scarce deserves the name : the acting was equally bad. This amuse- 
ment meets with little encouragement in Manilla, and I was told, was 
discountenanced by the Governor. 

I had the pleasure during our stay of attending a tertulia in the 
city. The company was not a large one, comprising some thirty or 
forty ladies and about sixty gentlemen. It resembled those of the 
mother country. Dancing was introduced at an early hour, and con- 
tinued till a few minutes before eleven o'clock, at which time the 
gates of the city are always shut. It was amusing to see the sudden 
breaking up of the party, most of the guests residing out of the city. 
The calling for carriages, shawls, hats, &c, produced for a few 
minutes great confusion, every one being desirous of getting off at the 
earliest moment possible, for fear of being too late. This regulation, 
by which the gates are closed at so early an hour, does not appear 
necessary, and only serves to interrupt the communication between 
the foreign and Spanish society, as the former is obliged, as before 
observed, to live outside of the city proper. This want of free inter- 
course is to be regretted, as it prevents that kind of friendship by 
which many of their jealousies and prejudices might be removed. 

The society at this tertulia was easy, and so far as the enjoyment 
of dancing went, pleasant ; but there was no conversation. The re r 
freshments consisted of a few dulces, lemonade, and strong drinks in 
an anteroom. The house appeared very spacious and well adapted for 
entertainments, but only one of the rooms was well lighted. From 
the novelty of the scene, and the attentions of the gentleman of the 
house, we passed a pleasant evening. 

The natives and mestizoes attracted much of my attention at Ma- 
nilla. Their dress is peculiar : over a pair of striped trousers of 
various colours, the men usually wear a fine grass-cloth shirt, a large 
straw hat, and around the head or neck a many-coloured silk hand- 
kerchief. They often wear slippers as well as shoes. The Chinese 
dress, as they have done for centuries, in loose white shirts and 
trousers. One peculiarity of the common men is their passion for 
cock-fighting ; and they carry these fowls wherever they go, after a 
peculiar fashion under their arm. 

Cock-fighting is licensed by the government, and great care is 



taken in the breeding of game fowls, which are very large and heavy 
birds. They are armed with a curved double-edged gaff. The 
exhibitions are usually crowded with half-breeds or mestizoes, who 
are generally more addicted to gambling than either the higher or 
lower classes of Spaniards. It would not be an unapt designation to 
call the middling class cock-fighters, for their whole lives seem to be 


taken up with the breeding and fighting of these birds. On the exit 
from a cockpit, I was much amused with the mode of giving the 
return check, which was done hy a stamp on the naked arm, and 
precludes the possibility of its transfer to another person. The dress 
of the lower order of females is somewhat civilized, yet it bore so 
strong a resemblance to that of the Polynesians as to recall the latter 
to our recollection. A long piece of coloured cotton is wound round 
the body, like the pareu, and tucked in at the side : this covers the 
nether limbs ; and a jacket fitting close to the body is worn, without a 
shirt. In some, this jacket is ornamented with work around the neck ; 
it has no collar, and in many cases no sleeves and over this a richly 
embroidered cape. The feet are covered with slippers, with wooden 
soles, which are kept on by the little toe, only four toes entering the 
slipper, and the little one being on the outside. The effect of both 
costumes is picturesque. 


The market is a never-failing place of amusement to a foreigner, 
for there a crowd of the common people is always to be seen, and 
their mode of conducting business may be observed. The canals 
here afford great facilities for bringing vegetables and produce to 
market in a fresh state. The vegetables are chiefly brought from 
the shores of the Laguna de Bay, through the river Pasig. The 
meat appeared inferior, and as in all Spanish places the art of 
butchering is not understood. The poultry, however, surpasses 
that of any other place I have seen, particularly in ducks, the 
breeding of which is pursued to a great extent. Establishments for 
breeding these birds are here carried on in a systematic manner, and 
are a great curiosity. They consist of many small enclosures, each 
about twenty feet by forty or fifty, made of bamboo, which are placed 
on the bank of the river, and partly covered with water. In one 
corner of the enclosure is a small house, where the eggs are hatched 
by artificial heat, produced by rice-chaff in a state of fermentation. 
It is not uncommon to see six or eight hundred ducklings all of the 
same age. There are several hundreds of these enclosures, and the 
number of ducks of all ages may be computed at millions. The 
manner in which they are schooled to take exercise, and to go in and 
out of the water, and to return to their house, almost exceeds belief. 
The keepers or tenders are of the Tagala tribe, who live near the 
enclosures, and have them at all times under their eye. The old birds 
are not suffered to approach the young, and all of one age are kept 
together. They are fed upon rice and a small species of shell-fish that 
is found in the river and is peculiar to it. From the extent of these 
establishments we inferred that ducks were the favourite article of 
food at Manilla, and the consumption of them must be immense. 
The markets are well supplied with chickens, pigeons, young part- 
ridges, which are brought in alive, and turkeys. Among strange 
articles that we saw for sale, were cakes of coagulated blood. The 
markets are well stocked with a variety of fish, taken both in the 
Laguna and bay of Manilla, affording a supply of both the fresh and 
salt-water species, and many smaller kinds that are dried and smoked. 
Vegetables are in great plenty, and consist of pumpkins, lettuce, 
onions, radishes, very long squashes, &c. ; of fruits, they have melons, 
chicos, durians, marbolas, and oranges. 

Fish are caught in weirs, by the hook, or in seines. The former 
are constructed of bamboo stakes, in the shallow water of the lake, 
at the point where it flows through the river Pasig. In the bay, and 

VOL. v. 81 


at the mouth of the river, the fish are taken in nets, suspended by the 
four corners from hoops attached to a crane, by which they are 
lowered into the water. The fishing-boats are little better than rafts, 
and are called saraboas. The wood-cut at the end of this chapter 
will give a better idea of them. 

The usual passage-boat is termed banca, and is made of a single 
trunk. These are very much used by the inhabitants. They have a 
sort of awning to protect the passenger from the rays of the sun ; and 
being light are easily rowed about, although they are exceedingly 
uncomfortable to sit in, from the lowness of the seats, and liable to 
overset, if the weight is not placed near the bottom. The canals 
offer great facilities for the transportation of burdens ; and the banks 
of almost all of them are faced with granite. Where the streets cross 
them, there are substantial stone bridges, which are generally of no 
more than one arch, so as not to impede the navigation. The barges 
used for the transportation of produce resemble our canal-boats, and 
have sliding roofs to protect them from the rain. 

Water, for the supply of vessels, is brought off in large earthen 
jars. It is obtained from the river, and if care is not taken, the 
water will be impure ; it ought to be filled beyond the city. Our 
supply was obtained five or six miles up the river, by a lighter, in 
which were placed a number of water-casks. It proved excellent. 

The trade of Manilla extends to all parts of the world. A com- 
parative statement of the exports of 1840 and 1841 will be found in 
Appendix XII. 

There are many facilities for the transaction of business, as far as 
the shipment of articles is concerned ; but great difficulties attend 
the settling of disputed accounts, collecting debts, &c. ; in the way of 
which the laws passed in 1834 have thrown many obstacles. All 
commercial business of this kind goes before, first, the Junta de 
Comercio, and then an appeal to the Tribunal de Comercio. This 
appeal, however, is merely nominal ; for the same judges preside 
in each, and they are said to be susceptible of influences that render 
an appeal to them by honest men at all times hazardous. The opinion 
of those who have had the misfortune to be obliged to recur to these 
tribunals is, that it is better to suffer wrong than encounter both the 
expense and vexation of a resort to them for justice. In the first of 
these courts the decision is long delayed, fees exacted, and other ex- 
penses incurred ; and when judgment is at length given, it excites one 
party or the other to appeal : other expenses accrue in consequence, 


and the advocates and judges grow rich while both the litigants suffer. 
I understood that these tribunals were intended to simplify business, 
lessen the time of suits, and promote justice ; but these results have 
not been obtained, and many believe that they have had the contrary 
effect, and have opened the road to further abuses. 

The country round Manilla, though no more than an extended 
plain for some miles, is one of great interest and beauty, and affords 
many agreeable rides on the roads to Santa Anna and Maraquino. 
Most of the country-seats are situated on the river Pasig; they may 
indeed be called palaces, from their extent and appearance. They 
are built upon a grand scale, and after the Italian style, with terraces, 
supported by strong abutments, decked with vases of plants. The 
grounds are ornamented with the luxuriant, lofty, and graceful trees 
of the tropics; these are tolerably well kept. Here and there fine 
large stone churches, with their towers and steeples, are to be seen, 
the whole giving the impression of a wealthy nobility, and a happy 
and flourishing peasantry. 

In one of our rides we made a visit to the Campo Santo or ceme- 
tery, about four miles from Manilla. It is small, but has many 
handsome trees about it; among them was an Agati, full of large 
white flowers, showing most conspicuously. The whole place is as 
unlike a depository of the dead as it well can be. Its form is circular, 
having a small chapel, in the form of a rotunda, directly opposite the 
gate, or entrance. The walls are about twenty feet high, with three 
tiers of niches, in which the bodies are enclosed with quicklime. 
Here they are allowed to remain for three years, or until such time as 
the niches may be required for further use. Niches may be pur- 
chased, however, and permanently closed up ; but in the whole ceme- 
tery there were but five thus secured. This would seem to indicate 
an indifference on the part of the living, for their departed relatives 
or friends ; at least such was my impression at the time. The centre 
of the enclosure is laid out as a flower-garden and shrubbery, and all 
the buildings are painted a deep buff-colour, with white cornices; 
these colours, when contrasted with the green foliage, give an effect 
that is not unpleasing. In the chapel are two tombs, the one for the 
bishop, and the other for the governor. The former, I believe, is 
occupied, and will continue to be so, until another shall follow him ; 
but the latter is empty, for, since the erection of the cemetery, none 
of the governors have died. In the rear of the chapel is another small 
cemetery, called Los Angelos ; and, further behind, the Osero. The 


former is similar to the one in front, but smaller, and appropriated 
exclusively to children ; the latter is an open space, where the bones 
of all those who have been removed from the niches, after three years, 
are cast out, and now lie in a confused heap, with portions of flesh and 
hair adhering to them. No person is allowed to be received here for 
interment, until the fees are first paid to the priest, however respect- 
able the parties may be; and all those who pay the fees, and are of the 
true faith, can be interred. I was told of a corpse of a very respectable 
person being refused admittance, for the want of the priest's pass, to 
show that the claim had been satisfied, and the coffin stopped in the 
road until it was obtained. We ourselves witnessed a similar refusal. 
A servant entered with a dead child, borne on a tray, which he pre- 
sented to the sacristan to have interred ; the latter asked him for the 
pass, which not being produced, he was dismissed, nor was he suffered 
to leave his burden until this requisite could be procured from the 
priest, who lived opposite. The price of interment was three dollars, 
but whether this included the purchase of the niche, or its rent for 
three years only, I did not learn. 

The churches of Manilla can boast of several fine-toned bells, 
which are placed in large belfries or tower's. There was one of these 
towers near the Messrs. Sturges', where we stayed ; and the manner 
in which the bell was used, when swung around by the force of two 
or three men, attracted our attention; for the ringers occasionally 
practised feats of agility by passing over with the bell, and landing 
on the coping on the opposite side. The tower being open, we could 
see the manoeuvre from the windows, and, as strangers, went there to 
look on. One day, whilst at dinner, they began to ring, and as many 
of the officers had not witnessed the feat, they sought the windows. 
This excited the vanity of those in the belfry, who redoubled their 
exertions, and performed the feat successfully many times, although 
in some instances they narrowly escaped accident, by landing just 
within the outside coping. This brought us all to the window, and 
the next turn, more force having been given to the bell, the individual 
who attempted the feat was thrown headlong beyond the tower, and 
dashed to pieces on the pavement beneath. Although shocked at the 
accident, I felt still more so when, after a few minutes, the bell was 
again heard making its usual sound, as if nothing had occurred to 
interrupt the course of its hourly peals. 

In company with Dr. Tolben, I visited one of the convents where 
he attended on some of the monks who were sick, and was well 


acquainted with all. I was much struck with the extent of the build- 
ing, which was four stories high, with spacious corridors and galleries, 
the walls of which were furnished with pictures representing the 
martyrdom of the Dominican friars in Japan. These were about 
seventy in number, in the Chinese style of art, and evidently painted 
by some one of that nation, calling himself an artist. From appear- 
ances, however, I should think they were composed by the priests, 
who have not a little taxed their invention to find out the different 
modes in which a man can be put to death. Many evidently, if 
not all, had been invented for the pictures. So perplexed had they 
apparently been, that in one of the last it was observed that the 
executioner held his victim at arms' length by the heels, and was 
about to let him drop headforemost into a well. From the galleries 
we passed into the library, and thence into many of the rooms, and 
finally we mounted to the top of the monastery, which affords a 
beautiful view of the bay, city, and suburbs. There I was presented 
to three of the friars, who were pleasant and jolly-looking men. Upon 
the roof was a kind of observatory, or look-out, simply furnished with 
billiard-tables and shuffleboards, while the implements for various 
other games lay about on small tables, with telescopes on stands, and 
comfortable arm-chairs. It was a place where the friars put aside their 
religious and austere character or appearance, and sought amusement. 
It was a delightful spot, so far as coolness and the freshness of the sea 
air were concerned, and its aspect gave me an insight behind the cur- 
tain of these establishments that very soon disclosed many things I was 
ignorant of before. All the friars were of a rotund form, and many 
of them bore the marks of good living in their full, red, and bloated 
faces. It seems to be generally understood at Manilla, that they live 
upon the fat of the land. We visited several of the rooms, and were 
warmly greeted by the padres, one of whom presented me with a 
meteorological table for the previous year. 

The revenues of all these religious establishments are considerable; 
the one I visited belonged to the Dominicans, and was very rich. 
Their revenues are principally derived from lands owned by them, 
and the tithes from the different districts which they have under their 
charge, to which are added many alms and gifts. On inquiry, I 
found their general character was by no means thought well of, and 
they had of late years lost much of the influence that they possessed 
before the revolution in the mother country. 

Among the inhabitants we saw here, was a native boy of the Iro- 
vol. v. 82 



gotes, or mountain tribe. He is said to be a true Negrito. Mr. 
Agate obtained a likeness of him, of which the cut is a copy. 


The Spaniards, as has been stated, have never been able to subdue 
this tribe, who are said to be still as wild as on their first landing ; 
they are confined almost altogether to the plains within or near the 
mountains, and from time to time make inroads in great force on the 
outer settlements, carrying off as much plunder as possible. The 
burden of this often causes them to be overtaken by the troops. 
When overtaken, they fight desperately, and were it not for the fire- 
arms of their adversaries, would give them much trouble. Few are 
captured on such occasions, and it is exceedingly difficult to take 
them alive, unless when very young. These mountains furnish them 
with an iron ore almost pure, in manufacturing which they show 
much ingenuity. Some of their weapons were presented to the Ex- 
pedition by Josiah Moore, Esq. These are probably imitations of the 

early Spanish weapons used against them. From all accounts, the 
natives are of Malay origin, and allied to those of the other islands 
of the extensive archipelago of the Eastern Seas; but the popula- 
tion of the towns and cities of the island are so mixed, from the con- 
stant intercourse with Chinese, Europeans, and others, that there is 
no pure blood among them. When at Manilla, we obtained a 


grammar of the Tagala language, which is said to be now rarely 
heard, and to have become nearly obsolete. This grammar is be- 
lieved to be the only one extant, and was procured from a padre, who 
presented it to the Expedition. 

The Pampangans are considered the finest tribe of natives ; they 
are excessively fond of horse-racing, and bet very considerable sums 
upon it; they have the reputation of being an industrious and energetic 
set of men. 

The mode of raising revenue by a poll-tax causes great discontent 
among all classes, for although light, it is, as it always has been else- 
where, unpopular. All the Chinese pay a capitation tax of four 
dollars. The revenue from various sources is said to amount to one 
million six hundred thousand dollars, of which the poll-tax amounts 
to more than one-half, the rest being derived from the customs, 
tobacco, &c. There is no tax upon land. It was thought at Manilla 
that a revenue might be derived by indirect taxation, far exceeding 
this sum, without being sensibly felt by the inhabitants. This mode 
is employed in the eastern islands under the English and Dutch 
rule, and it is surprising that the Spaniards also do not adopt 
it, or some other method to increase resources that are so much 
needed. Whenever the ministry in Spain had to meet a claim, 
they were a few years ago in the habit of issuing drafts on this 
colonial government in payment. These came at last in such num- 
bers, that latterly they have been compelled to suspend the payment 
of them. 

The revenue of the colonial government is very little more than 
will meet the expenses; and it is believed that, notwithstanding these 
unaccepted claims, it received orders to remit the surplus, if any, to 
Spain, regardless of honour or good faith. 

The government of the Philippines is in the hands of a governor- 
general, who has the titles of viceroy, commander-in-chief, sub- 
delegate, judge of the revenue from the post-office, commander of 
the troops, captain-general, and commander of the naval forces. 
His duties embrace every thing that relates to the security and 
defence of the country. As advisers, he has a council called the 

The islands are divided into provinces, each of which has a mili- 
tary officer with the title of governor, appointed by the governor- 
general. They act as chief magistrates, have jurisdiction over all 
disputes of minor importance, have the command of the troops in 


time of war, and are collectors of the royal revenues, for the security 
of which they give bonds, which must be approved of by the comp- 
troller-general of the treasury. The province of Cavite is alone 
exempt from this rule, and the collection of tribute is there confided 
to a police magistrate. 

Each province is again subdivided into pueblos, containing a 
greater or less number of inhabitants, each of which has again its 
ruler, called a gobernadorcillo, who has in like manner other officers 
under him to act as police magistrates. The number of the latter 
are very great, each of them having his appropriate duties. These 
consist in the supervision of the grain fields, cocoa-nut groves, betel- 
nut plantations, and in the preservation of the general order and 
peace of the town. So numerous are these petty officers, that there 
is scarcely a family of any consequence, that has not a member 
who holds some kind of office under government. This policy, 
in case of disturbances, at once unites a large and influential body 
on the side of the government, that is maintained at little expense. 
The gobernadorcillo exercises the municipal authority, and is espe- 
cially charged to aid the parish priest in every thing appertaining to 
religious observances, &c. 

In the towns where the descendants of the Chinese are sufficiently 
numerous, they can, by permission of the governor, elect their own 
petty governors and officers from among themselves. 

In each town there is also a head-man (cabezas de barangay), who 
has the charge of fifty tributaries, in each o^which is included as 
many families. This division is called a barangay. This office 
forms by far the most important part of the machinery of govern- 
ment in the Philippine Islands, for these head-men are the attorneys 
of these small districts, and become the electors of the gobernador- 
cillos, and other civil officers. Only twelve, however, of them or 
their substitutes, are allowed to vote in each town. 

The office of head-man existed before the conquest of the island, 
and the Spaniards showed their wisdom in continuing and adapting 
it to their system of police. The office among the natives was heredi- 
tary, but their conquerors made it also elective, and when a vacancy 
now occurs through want of heirs, or resignation, it is filled up by 
the superintendent of the province, on the recommendation of the 
gobernadorcillo and the head-men. This is also the case when any 
new office is created. The privileges of the head-men are great; 
themselves, their wives, and their first-born children, are exempted 


from paying tribute to the crown, an exoneration which is owing to 
their being collectors of the royal revenues. Their duties consist in 
maintaining good order and harmony, in dividing the labour required 
for the public benefit equally, adjusting differences, and receiving 
the taxes. 

The gobernadorcillo takes cognizance of all civil cases not exceed- 
ing two tales of gold, or forty-four dollars in silver ; all criminal cases 
must be sent to the chief of the province. The head-men formerly 
served for no more than three years, and if this was done faithfully, 
they became and were designated as principals, in virtue of which 
rank they received the title of Don. 

The election takes place at the court-house of the town ; the elec- 
tors are the gobernadorcillo, whose office is about to expire, and twelve 
of the oldest head-men, collectors of tribute and of " champanes ;" 
for the gobernadorcillo they must select, by a plurality of votes, three 
individuals, who must be able to speak, read, and write the Spanish 
language. The voting is done by ballot, in the presence of the notary 
(escribano), and the chief of the province, who presides. The curate 
may be present, to look after the interest of the church, but for no 
other purpose. After the votes are taken, they are sealed and trans- 
mitted to the governor-general, who selects one of the three candidates, 
and issues a commission. In the more distant provinces, the chief of 
the district has the authority to select the gobernadorcillo, and fill up 
the commission, a blank form of which, signed by the governor- 
general, is left with him for that purpose. 

The head-men may be elected petty governors, and still retain 
their office, and collect the tribute or taxes ; for it is not considered 
just, that the important office of chief of Barangay should deprive the 
holder of the honour of being elected gobernadorcillo. 

The greater part of the Chinese reside in the province of Tondo, 
but the tribute is there collected by the alcalde mayor, with an 
assistant, taken from among the officers of the royal treasury. 

The poll-tax on the Chinese amounts to four dollars a head : it was 
formerly one-half more. Tax-lists of the Chinese are kept, in which 
they are registered and classified ; and opposite the name is the amount 
at which the individual is assessed. 

The Spanish government seems particularly desirous of giving con- 
sequence even to its lowest offices ; and in order to secure it to them, 
it is directed that the chiefs of provinces shall treat the gobernador- 
cillos with respect, offering them seats when they enter their houses 

vor.. v. 83 


or other places, and not allowing them to remain standing ; further- 
more, the parish curates are required to treat them with equal respect. 
So far as concerns the provinces, the government may be called, 
notwithstanding the officers, courts, &c, monastic. The priests 
rule, and frequently administer punishment, with their own hands, 
to either sex, of which an instance will be cited hereafter. 

As soon as we could procure the necessary passports, which were 
obligingly furnished by the governor to " Don Russel Sturges y quatro 
Anglo Americanos," our party left Manilla for a short jaunt to the 
mountains. It was considered as a mark of great favour on the part 
of his excellency to grant this indulgence, particularly as he had a 
few months prior denied it to a party of French officers. I was told 
that he preferred to make it a domestic concern, by issuing the pass- 
port in the name of a resident, in order that compliance in this case 
might not give umbrage to the French. It was generally believed 
that the cause of the refusal in the former instance was the imprudent 
manner in which the French officers went about taking plans and 
sketches, at the corners of streets, &c, which in the minds of an un- 
enlightened and ignorant colonial government, of course excited sus- 
picion. Nothing can be so ridiculous as this system of passports ; for 
if one was so disposed, a plan, and the most minute information of 
every thing that concerns the defences of places, can always be 
obtained at little cost now-a-days ; for such is the skill of engineers, 
that a plan is easily made of places, merely by a sight of them. We 
were not, however, disposed to question the propriety of the governor's 
conduct in the former case, and I felt abundantly obliged to him for a 
permission that would add to our stock of information. 

It was deemed at first impossible for the party to divide, as they 
had but one passport, and some difficulties were anticipated from the 
number being double that stated in the passport. The party consisted 
of Messrs. Sturges, Pickering, Eld, Rich, Dana, and Brackenridge. 
Mr. Sturges, however, saw no difficulty in dividing the party after 
they had passed beyond the precincts of the city, taking the precau- 
tion at the same time, not to appear together beyond the number 
designated on the paper. 

On the 14th, they left Manilla, and proceeded in carriages to Santa 
Anna, on the Pasig, in order to avoid the delay that would ensue if 
they followed the windings of the river in a banca, and against the 

At Santa Anna they found their bancas waiting for them, and 


embarked. Here the scene was rendered animated by numerous 
boats of all descriptions, from the parao to the small canoe of a single 

There is a large population that live wholly on the water ; for the 
padrones of the paraos have usually their families with them, which, 
from the great variety of ages and sexes, give a very different and 
much more bustling appearance to the crowd of boats, than would be 
the case if they only contained those who are employed to navigate 
them. At times the paraos and bancas, of all sizes, together with the 
saraboas and pativas (duck establishments), become jumbled together, 
and create a confusion and noise such as is seldom met with in any 
other country. 

The pativas are under the care of the original inhabitants to 
whom exclusively the superintendence of the ducklings seems to 
be committed. The pens are made of bamboo, and are not over a 
foot high. The birds were all in admirable order, and made no 
attempt to escape over the low barrier, although so slight that it was 
thought by some of our gentlemen it would not have sufficed to 
confine American ducks, although their wings might have been cut. 
The mode of giving them exercise was by causing them to run round 
in a ring. The good understanding existing between the keepers 
and their charge was striking, particularly when the former were 
engaged in cleansing the pens, and assisting the current to carry off 
the impurities. In the course of their sail, it was estimated that 
hundreds of thousands of ducks of all ages were seen. 

The women who were seen were usually engaged in fishing with a 
hook and line, and were generally standing in the water, or in canoes. 
The saraboas were here also in use. The run of the fish is generally 
concentrated by a chevaux-de-frise to guide them towards the nets 
and localities where the fishers place themselves. 

At five o'clock they reached the Laguna de Bay, where they took 
in a new crew with mast and sail. This is called twenty-five miles 
from Manilla by the river ; the distance in a bird's flight is not over 
twelve. The whole distance is densely peopled, and well cultivated. 
The crops consist of indigo, rice, &c, with groves of the betel, palm, 
cocoa-nut, and quantities of fruit trees. 

The shores of the lake are shelving, and afford good situations for 
placing fish-weirs, which are here established on an extensive scale. 
These weirs are formed of slips of bamboo, and are to be seen run- 
ning in every direction to the distance of two or three miles. They 



may be said to invest entirely the shores of the lake for several miles 
from its outlet, and without a pilot it would be difficult to find the 
way through them. At night, when heron and tern were seen roost- 
ing on the top of each slat, these weirs presented rather a curious 

The Laguna de Bay is said to be about ten leagues in length by 
three in width, and trends in a north-northwest and south-southeast 
direction : an idea of its shape will be more readily arrived at from the 
small map of the environs of Manilla, which is annexed. 


After dark, the bancas separated. Mr. Sturges, with Dr. Pickering 
and Mr. Eld, proceeded to visit the mountain of Magjaijai, while 
Messrs. Rich, Dana, and Brackenridge, went towards the Volcano de 
Taal. The latter party took the passport, while the former relied 
upon certain letters of introduction for protection, in case of difficulty. 

Mr. Sturges, with his party, directed his course to the east side of 
the lake, towards a point called Jalujalu, which they reached about 
three o'clock in the morning, and stopped for the crew to cook some 
rice, &c. At 8 a. m., they reached Santa Cruz, situated about half a 
mile up a small streamlet, called Paxanau. At this place they found 
Don Escudero, to whom they had a letter of introduction, and who 
holds a civil appointment. They were very kindly received by this 
gentleman and his brown lady, with their interesting family. He at 


once ordered horses for them to proceed to the mission of Magjaijai, 
and entertained them with a sumptuous breakfast. 

They were not prepared to set out before noon, until which time 
they strolled about the town of Santa Cruz, the inhabitants of which 
are Tagalas. There are only two old Spaniards in the place. The 
province in which Santa Cruz is situated, contains about five thou- 
sand inhabitants, of whom eighteen hundred pay tribute. 

The people have the character of being orderly, and govern them- 
selves without the aid of the military. The principal article of 
culture is the cocoa-nut tree, which is seen in large groves. The 
trunks of these were notched, as was supposed, for the purpose of 
climbing them. From the spathe a kind of spirit is manufactured, 
which is fully as strong as our whiskey. 

About noon they left Don Escudero's, and took a road leading 
to the southward and eastward, through a luxuriant and beautiful 
country, well cultivated, and ornamented with lofty cocoa-nut trees, 
betel palms, and banana groves. Several beautiful valleys were 
passed, with streamlets rushing through them. 

Magjaijai is situated about one thousand feet above the Laguna de 
Bay, but the rise is so gradual that it was almost imperceptible. 
The country has every where the appearance of being densely 
peopled ; but no more than one village was passed between Santa 
Cruz and the mission. They had letters to F. Antonio Ftomana y 
Aranda, padre of the mission, who received them kindly, and enter- 
tained them most hospitably. When he was told of their intention 
to visit the mountain, he said it was impossible with such weather, 
pointing to the black clouds that then enveloped its summit; and he 
endeavoured to persuade the gentlemen to desist from what appeared 
to him a mad attempt; but finding them resolved to make the trial, 
he aided in making all the necessary preparations, though he had 
no belief in their success. 

On the morning of the 17th, after mass, Mr. Eld and Dr. Pickering 
set out, but Mr. Sturges preferred to keep the good padre company 
until their return. The padre had provided them with guides, 
horses, twenty natives, and provisions for three days. He had been 
himself on the same laborious journey, some six months before, and 
knew its fatigues ; although it turned out afterwards that his expe- 
dition was performed in fine weather, and that he had been borne on 
a litter by natives the whole way. 

The first part of the road was wet and miry, and discouraging 

vol. v. 84 


enough. The soil was exceedingly rich, producing tropical plants 
in great profusion, in the midst of which were seen the neat bamboo 
cottages, with their industrious and cleanly-looking inhabitants. 
When they reached the foot of the mountain, they found it was 
impossible to ride farther, and were obliged to take to walking, 
which was, however, less of a hardship than riding the little rats of 
horses, covered with mud and dirt, which were at first deemed 
useless ; but the manner in which they ascended and maintained 
themselves on the slippery banks, surpassed any thing they had 
before witnessed in horseflesh. The first part of the ascent of the 
mountain was gradual, but over a miry path, which was extremely 
slippery ; and had it not been for the sticks stuck down by the party 
of the padre in their former ascent, they would have found it ex- 
tremely difficult to overcome : to make it more disagreeable, it rained 
all the time. 

It took about two hours to reach the steep ascent. The last portion 
of their route had been through an uninhabited region, with some 
openings in the woods, affording pasture-grounds to a few small herds 
of buffalo. In three hours they reached the half-way house, by a very 
steep and regular ascent. Here the natives insisted upon stopping to 
cook their breakfast, as they had not yet partaken of any thing 
through the day. The natives now endeavoured to persuade them it 
was impracticable to go any farther, or at least to reach the top of 
the mountain and return before nisdit. Our gentlemen lost their 
patience at the delay, and after an hour's endurance of it, resolved to 
set out alone. Six of the natives followed them, and by half-past 
three they reached the summit, where they found it cold and un- 
comfortable. The ascent had been difficult, and was principally 
accomplished by catching hold of shrubs and the roots of trees. The 
summit is comparatively bare, and not more than fifty feet in width. 
The side opposite to that by which they mounted was perpendicular, 
but owing to the thick fog they could not see the depth to which the 
precipice descended. 

The observations with the barometers were speedily taken, which 
gave the height of Banajoa as six thousand five hundred feet. The 
trees on the summit were twenty or thirty feet high, and a species 
of fir was very common. Gaultheria, attached to the trunks of trees, 
Rhododendrons, and Polygonums, also abounded. The rocks were so 
covered with soil that it was difficult to ascertain their character : Dr. 
Pickering is of opinion, however, that they are not volcanic. The 


house on the summit afforded them little or no shelter ; being a mere 
shed, open on all sides, they found it untenantable, and determined to 
return as soon as their observations were finished to the half-way 
house, which they reached before dark. 

The night was passed uncomfortably, and in the morning they 
made an early start down the mountain to reach the native village at 
its foot, where they were refreshed with a cup of chocolate, cakes, and 
some dulces, according to the custom of the country. At ten o'clock 
they reached the mission, where they were received by the padre 
and Mr. Sturges. The former was greatly astonished to hear that 
they had really been to the summit, and had accomplished in twenty- 
four hours what he had deemed a labour of three days. He quickly 
attended to their wants, the first among which was dry clothing; and 
as their baggage had unfortunately been left at Santa Cruz, the ward- 
robe of the rotund padre was placed at their disposal. Although the 
fit was rather uncouth on the spare forms of our gentlemen, yet his 
clothes served the purpose tolerably well, and were thankfully made 
use of. During their absence, Mr. Sturges had been much amused 
with the discipline he had witnessed at the hands of the church, 
which here seem to be the only visible ruling power. Two young 
natives had made complaint to the padre that a certain damsel had 
entered into vows or engagements to marrv both : she was accordingly 

DO j O J 

brought up before the padre, Mr. Sturges being present. The padre 
first lectured her most seriously upon the enormity of her crime, then 
inflicted several blows on the palm of her outstretched hand, again 
renewing the lecture, and finally concluding with another whipping. 
The girl was pretty, and excited the interest of our friend, who 
looked on with much desire to interfere, and save the damsel from the 
corporeal punishment, rendered more aggravated by the dispassionate 
and cool manner in which it and the lecture were administered. In 
the conversation which ensued, the padre said he had more cases 
of the violation of the marriage vow, and of infidelity, than any other 
class of crimes. 

After a hearty breakfast, or rather dinner, and expressing their 
thanks to the padre, they rode back to Santa Cruz, where they 
arrived at an early hour, and at 9 p. m. they embarked in their bancas 
for Manilla. 

In the morning they found themselves, after a comfortable night, 
at Banos. Here they took chocolate with the padre, to whom Mr. 


Sturges had a letter, who informed them that the other party had left 
the place the evening before for Manilla. 

This party had proceeded to the town of Baia, where they arrived 
at daylight on the 15th. Baia is quite a pretty place, and well 
situated ; the houses are clean and comfortable, and it possessed a 
venerable stone church, with towers and bells. On inquiring for the 
padre, they found that he was absent, and it was in consequence im- 
possible for them to procure horses to proceed to the volcano of Taal. 
They therefore concluded to walk to the hot springs at Banos, about 
five miles distant. Along the road they collected a number of curious 
plants. Rice is much cultivated, and fields of it extend to some dis- 
tance on each side of the road. Buffaloes were seen feeding and 
wallowing in the ditches. 

At Banos the hot springs are numerous, the water issuing from the 
rock over a considerable surface. The quantity of water discharged 
by them is large, and the whole is collected and conducted to the 
bathing-houses. The temperature of the water at the mouth of the 
culvert was 180°. 

The old bath-house is a singular-looking place, being built on the 
hill-side, in the old Spanish style, with large balconies, that are 
enclosed in the manner already described, in speaking of the houses 
in Manilla. It is beautifully situated, and overlooks the baths and 
lake. The baths are of stone, and consist of two large rooms, in each 
of which is a niche, through which the hot water passes. This build- 
ing is now in ruins, the roof and floors having fallen in. 

Banos is a small village, but contains a respectable-looking stone 
church, and two or three houses of the same material. Here the 
party found a difficulty in getting on, for the alcalde could not speak 
Spanish, and they were obliged to use an interpreter, in order to 
communicate with him. Notwithstanding this, he is a magistrate, 
whose duty it is to administer laws written in that language. Find- 
ing they could not succeed even here in procuring guides or horses, 
they determined to remain and explore Mount Maquiling, the height 
of which is three thousand four hundred and fifty feet, and in the 
mean time to send for their bancas. 

The next day they set out on their journey to that mountain, and 
the first part of their path lay over a gentle ascent, through cultivated 
grounds. Next succeeded an almost perpendicular hill, bare of trees, 
and overgrown with a tall grass, which it was difficult to pass through. 


Such had been the time taken up, that the party found it impos- 
sible to reach the summit and return before dark. They therefore 
began to collect specimens ; and after having obtained a full load, they 
returned late in the afternoon to Bafios. 

The mountain is composed of trachytic rocks and tufa, which are 
occasionally seen to break through the rich and deep soil, showing 
themselves here and there, in the deep valleys which former volcanic 
action has created, and which have destroyed the regular outline of 
the cone-shaped mountain. The tufa is generally found to form the 
gently-sloping plains that surround these mountains, and has in all 
probability been ejected from them. Small craters, of some two 
hundred feet in height, are scattered over the plains. The tufa is 
likewise exposed to view on the shores of the lake ; but elsewhere, 
except on a few bare hills, it is entirely covered with the dense and 
luxuriant foliage. The tufa is generally of a soft character, crum- 
bling in the fingers, and in it are found coarse and fine fragments of 
scoria, pumice, &c. The layers are from a few inches to five feet in 

In the country around Bafios, there are several volcanic hills, and 
on the sides of Mount Maquiling are appearances of parasitic cones, 
similar to those observed at the Hawaiian Islands; but time and the 
foliage have so disguised them, that it is difficult to determine exactly 
their true character. 

I regretted exceedingly that the party that set out for the Lake de 
Taal was not able to reach it, as, from the accounts I had, it must 
be one of the most interesting portions of the country. It lies nearly 
southwest from Manilla, and occupies an area of about one hundred 
and twenty square miles. The Volcano de Taal is situated on an 
island near the centre of it, and is now in action. The cone which 
rises from its centre is remarkably regular, and consists for the most 
part of cinders and scoria. It has been found to be nine hundred 
feet in elevation above the lake. The crater has a diameter of two 
miles, and its depth is equal to the elevation : the walls of the 
crater are nearly perpendicular, so much so that the descent cannot 
be made without the assistance of ropes. At the bottom there are 
two small cones. Much steam issues from the many fissures, 
accompanied by sulphurous acid gas. The waters of the lake are 
impregnated with sulphur, and there are said to be also large beds of 
sulphur. In the opinion of those who have visited this spot, the whole 
lake once formed an immense crater ; and this does not appear very 

vol. v. 85 


improbable, if we are to credit the accounts we received of the many 
craters on this island that are now filled with water ; for instance, 
in the neighbourhood of San Pablo there are said to be eight or 

The hot springs of Bafios are numerous, and in their vicinity large 
quantities of steam are seen to issue from the shore of the lake. 
There are about a dozen which give out a copious supply of water. 
The principal one has been enclosed, and made to flow through a 
stone aqueduct, which discharges a considerable stream. The tem- 
perature of the water as it leaves the aqueduct is 178°. The villagers 
use it for cooking and washing : the signs of the former employ- 
ment are evident enough from the quantities of feathers from the 
poultry that have been scalded and plucked preparatory to cook- 
ing. The baths are formed by a small circular building six feet in 
diameter, erected over the point of discharge for the purpose of 
securing a steam-bath : the temperature of these is 160° and 140°. 
A change of temperature was said to have occurred in the latter. 

The rocks in the vicinity are all tufa, and some of the springs 
break out close to the cold water of the lake. Near the aqueduct, a 
stone wall surrounds one of the principal outlets. Two-thirds of the 
area thus enclosed is occupied by a pond of warm water, and the 
other third is divided into two stone reservoirs, built for baths. These 
baths had at one time a high reputation, and were a very fashionable 
resort for the society of Manilla ; but their celebrity gradually dimi- 
nished, and the whole premises have gone out of repair, and are fast 
falling to ruin. 

The water of the springs has no perceptible taste, and only a very 
faint smell of sulphur is perceived. No gas escapes from it, but a 
white incrustation covers the stones over which the water flows. 

Some of these waters were obtained, and since our return were put 
into the hands of Dr. C. T. Jackson, of Boston, who gives the following 
analysis : 

Specific gravity, 1-0043; thermometer 60° ; barometer 30-05 in. 

A quantity of the water, equal in bulk to three thousand grains of 
distilled water, on evaporation gave — 

Dry salts, 5-95 grains. 

A quantity of the water, equal in bulk to one thousand grains of 
distilled water, was operated on for each of the following ingredients : 


Chlorine, 0-66 

Carbonic acid, ......... 0-16 

Sulphuric acid, ......... 0-03 

Soda and sodium, . . . . . . . . 0'97 

Magnesia, 0-09 

Lime, 0-07 

Potash, traces 

Organic matter, ......... " 

Manganese, ......... " 


On Mount Maquiling, wild buffaloes, hogs, a small species of 
deer, and monkeys, are found. Birds are also very numerous, and 
among them is the horn-bill : the noise made by this bird resembles a 
loud barking ; report speaks of them as an excellent bird for the 
table. Our gentlemen reached their lodging-place as the night 
closed in, and the next day again embarked for Manilla, regretting 
that time would not permit them to make another visit to so inte- 
resting a field of research. They found the lake so rough that 
they were compelled to return, and remain until eight o'clock. 
This, however, gave our botanists another opportunity of making 
collections, among which were beautiful specimens of Volkameria 
splendens, with elegant scarlet flowers, and a Brugmansia, which 
expanded its beautiful silvery flowers after sunset. On the shores a 
number of birds were feeding, including pelicans, with their huge bills, 
the diver, with its long arched neck, herons, gulls, eagles, and snow- 
white cranes, with ducks and other small aquatic flocks. Towards 
night these were joined by large bats, that were seen winging their 
way towards the plantations of fruit. These, with quantities of in- 
sects, gave a vivid idea of the wonderful myriads of animated things 
that are constantly brought into being in these tropical and luxuriant 

Sailing all night in a rough sea, they were much incommoded by 
the water, which was shipped into the banca which kept them con- 
stantly baling out; they reached the river Pasig at daylight, and 
again passed the duck establishments, and the numerous boats and 
bancas on their way to the markets of Manilla. 

Both the parties reached the consul's the same day, highly pleased 
with their respective jaunts. To the kindness of Messrs. Sturges 
and Moore, we are mainly indebted for the advantages and pleasures 
derived from the excursions. 



The instruments were now embarked, and preparations made for 
going to sea. Our stay at Manilla had added much to our collec- 
tions ; we obtained many new specimens, and the officers and natu- 
ralists had been constantly and profitably occupied in their various 

We went on board on the 20th of January, and were accompanied 
to the vessel by Messrs. Sturges and Moore, with several other 
residents of Manilla. 

We had, through the kindness of Captain Salomon, procured a 
native pilot for the Sooloo Sea, who was also to act as interpreter. 

On the morning of the 21st, we took leave of our friends, and 
got under way. The same day, and before we had cleared the 
bay, we spoke the American ship Angier, which had performed 
the voyage from the United States in one hundred and twenty-four 
days, and furnished us with late and interesting news. We then, 
with a strong northerly wind, made all sail to the south for the 
Straits of Mindoro. 

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S O O L O O. 
18 42. 

On the evening of the 21st of January, the Vincennes, with the 
tender in company, left the bay of Manilla. I then sent for Mr. 
Knox, who commanded the latter, and gave him directions to keep 
closely in company with the Vincennes, and at the same time pointed 
out to him places of rendezvous where the vessels might again meet 
in case any unavoidable circumstance caused their separation. I was 
more particular in giving him instructions to avoid losing sight of the 
Vincennes, as I was aware that my proposed surveys might be im- 
peded or frustrated altogether, were I deprived of the assistance of the 
vessel under his command. 

On the 22d, we passed the entrance of the Straits of San Bernadino. 
It would have been my most direct route to follow these straits until 
I had passed Mindoro, and it is I am satisfied the safest course, unless 
the winds are fair, for the direct passage. My object, however, was 
to examine the ground for the benefit of others, and the Apo Shoal, 
which lies about mid-channel between Palawan and Mindoro, claimed 
my first attention. The tender was despatched to survey it, while I 
proceeded in the Vincennes to examine the more immediate entrance 
to the Sooloo Sea, off the southwest end of Mindoro. 

Calavite Peak is the north point of Mindoro, and our observations 
made it two thousand feet high. This peak is of the shape of a 
dome, and appears remarkably regular when seen from its western 
side. On approaching Mindoro, we, as is usual, under high islands, lost 
the steady breeze, and the wind became light for the rest of the day. 

344 S O O L O O. 

Mindoro is a beautiful island, and is evidently volcanic; it appears 
as if thrown up in confused masses : it is not much settled, as the 
more southern islands are preferred to it as a residence. 

On the 23d, we ascertained the elevation of the highest peak of 
the island by triangulation to be three thousand one hundred and 
twenty-six feet. The easternmost island of the Palawan Group, Bus- 
vagan, was at the time just in sight from the deck, to the southwest. 

It had been my intention to anchor at Ambolou Island ; but the 
wind died away before we reached it, and I determined to stand off 
and on all night. 

On the 24th, I began to experience the truth of what Captain 
Halcon had asserted, namely, that the existing charts were entirely 
worthless, and I also found that my native pilot was of no more value 
than they were : he had evidently passed the place before ; but 
whether the size of the vessel, so much greater than any he had 
sailed in, confused him, or whether it was from his inability to 
understand and to make himself understood by us, he was of no 
use whatever, and we had the misfortune of running into shoal water, 
barely escaping the bottom. These dangers were usually quickly 
passed, and we soon found ourselves again floating in thirty or forty 
fathoms water. 

We continued beating to windward, in hopes of being joined by 
the Flying-Fish, and I resolved to finish the survey towards the 
island of Semarara. We found every thing in a different position 
from that assigned it by any of the charts with which we were fur- 
nished. On this subject, however, I shall not dwell, but refer those 
who desire particular information to the charts and Hydrographical 

Towards evening, I again ran down to the southwest point of the 
island of Mindoro, and sent a letter on shore to the pueblo, with 
directions to have it put on board the tender, when she should arrive. 
We then began to beat round Semarara, in order to pass over towards 

The southern part of Mindoro is much higher than the northern, 
but appears to be equally rough. It is, however, susceptible of culti- 
vation, and there are many villages along its shores. 

Semarara is moderately high, and about fifteen miles in circum- 
ference ; it is inhabited, and like Mindoro much wooded. According 
to the native pilot, its shores are free from shoals. It was not until 

S O O L O O. 345 

the next day that we succeeded in reaching Panay. I determined 
to pass the night off" Point Potol, the north end of Panay, as I believed 
the sea in its neighbourhood to be free of shoals, and wished to resume 
our running survey early in the morning. 

At daylight on the 27th we continued the survey down the coast of 
Panay, and succeeded in correcting many errors in the existing charts 
(both English and Spanish). The channel along this side is from 
twelve to twenty miles wide, and suitable for beating in ; little cur- 
rent is believed to exist ; and the tides, as far as our observations 
went, seem to be regular and of little strength. 

The island of Panay is high and broken, particularly on the south 
end ; its shores are thickly settled and well cultivated. Indigo and 
sugar-cane claim much of the attention of the inhabitants. The 
Indians are the principal cultivators. They pay to government a 
capitation tax of seven rials. Its population is estimated at three 
hundred thousand, which I think is rather short of the actual 

On all the hills there are telegraphs of rude construction, to give 
information of the approach of piratical prahus from Sooloo, which 
formerly were in the habit of making attacks upon the defenceless 
inhabitants and carrying them off into slavery. Of late years they 
have ceased these depredations, for the Spaniards have resorted to a 
new mode of warfare. Instead of pursuing and punishing the 
offenders, they now intercept all their supplies, both of necessaries 
and luxuries ; and the fear of this has had the effect to deter the 
pirates from their usual attacks. 

We remained off San Pedro for the night, in hopes of falling in 
with the Flying-Fish in the morning. 

On the morning of the 28th, the Flying-Fish was discovered 
plainly in sight. I immediately stood for her, fired a gun and made 
signal. At seven o'clock another gun was fired, but the vessel still 
stood off, and was seen to make sail to the westward without paying 
any regard whatever to either, and being favoured by a breeze while 
the Vincennes was becalmed, she stole off and was soon out of sight.* 

After breakfast we opened the bay of Antique, on which is situated 
the town of San Jose. As this bay apparently offered anchorage for 

* On my arrival at Singapore, this circumstance was investigated by a court of 
inquiry. The result showed that Mr. Knox had no knowledge of the Vincennes having 
been seen ; for the officer of the watch had not reported to him the fact. 

vol. v. 87 


S O O L O O. 

vessels bound up this coast, I determined to survey it ; and for this 
purpose the boats were hoisted out and prepared for surveying. 
Lieutenant Budd was despatched to visit the pueblo called San Jose. 

On reaching the bay, the boats were sent to different points of it, 
and when they were in station, the ship fired guns to furnish bases 
by the sound, and angles were simultaneously measured. The boats 
made soundings on their return to the ship, and thus completed this 
duty, so that in an hour or two afterwards the bay was correctly 
represented on paper. It offers no more than a temporary anchorage 
for vessels, and unless the shore is closely approached, the water is 
almost too deep for the purpose. 

At San Jose a Spanish governor resides, who presides over the two 
pueblos of San Pedro and San Jose, and does the duty also of alcalde. 
Lieutenant Budd did not see him, as he was absent, but his lady did 
the honours. Lieutenant Budd represented the pueblo as cleanly 
and orderly. About fifteen soldiers were seen, who compose the 
governor's guard, and more were said to be stationed at San Pedro. 
A small fort of eight guns commands the roadstead. The beach was 
found to be of fine volcanic sand, composed chiefly of oxide of iron, 
and comminuted shells ; there is here also a narrow shore-reef of 
coral. The plain bordering the sea is covered with a dense growth 
of cocoa-nut trees. In the fine season the bay is secure, but we were 
informed that in westerly and southwesterly gales heavy seas set in, 
and vessels are not able to lie at anchor. Several small vessels were 
lying in a small river about one and a half miles to the southward of 
the point on which the fort is situated. The entrance to this river is 
very narrow and tortuous. 

Panay is one of the largest islands of the group. We had an 
opportunity of measuring the height of some of its western peaks 
or highlands, none of which exceed three thousand feet. The inte- 
rior and eastern side have many lofty summits, which are said to 
reach an altitude of seven thousand five hundred feet; but these, as we 
passed, were enveloped in clouds, or shut out from view by the nearer 
highlands. The general features of the island are like those of Luzon 
and Mindoro. The few specimens we obtained of its rocks consisted 
of the different varieties of talcose formation, with quartz and jasper. 
The specimens were of no great value, as they were much worn by 
lying on the beach. 

The higher land was bare of trees, and had it not been for the 

S O O L O O. 347 

numerous fertile valleys lying between the sharp and rugged spurs, 
it would have had a sterile appearance. 

The bay of Antique is in latitude 10° 40' N., longitude 121° 59' 
30" E. 

It was my intention to remain for two or three days at a convenient 
anchorage to enable us to make short excursions into the interior ; but 
the vexatious mismanagement of the tender now made it incumbent 
that I should make every possible use of the time to complete the 
operations connected with the hydrography of this sea; for I perceived 
that the duties that I intended should be performed by her, would 
now devolve upon the boats, and necessarily expose both officers and 
men to the hazard of contracting disease. I regretted giving up this 
design, not only on my own account and that of the Expedition, but 
because of the gratification it would have afforded personally to the 

The town of San Jose has about thirty bamboo houses, some of 
which are filled in with clay or mortar, and plastered over, both 
inside and out. Few of them are more than a single story in height. 
That of the governor is of the same material, and overtops the rest; 
it is whitewashed, and has a neat and cleanly appearance. In the 
vicinity of the town are several beautiful valleys, which run into the 
mountains from the plain that borders the bay. The landing is on a 
bamboo bridge, which has been erected over an extensive mud-flat, 
that is exposed at low water, and prevents any nearer approach of 
boats. This bridge is about seven hundred feet in length; and a 
novel plan has been adopted to preserve it from being carried away. 
The stems of bamboo not being sufficiently large and heavy to main- 
tain the superstructure in the soft mud, a scaffold is constructed just 
under the top, which is loaded with blocks of large stone, and the 
outer piles are secured to anchors or rocks, with grass rope. The 
roadway or top is ten feet wide, covered with split bamboo, woven 
together, and has rails on each side, to assist the passenger. This is 
absolutely necessary for safety ; and even with this aid, one unaccus- 
tomed to it must be possessed of no little bodily strength to pass over 
this smooth, slippery, and springy bridge, without accident. 

Two pirogues were at anchor in the bay, and on the shore was the 
frame of a vessel which had evidently been a long while on the 
stocks, for the weeds and bushes near the keel were six or eight feet 
high, and a portion of the timbers were decayed. Carts and sleds 
drawn by buffaloes were in use, and every thing gave it the appear- 

348 S O O L o o. 

ance of a thriving village. Although I have mentioned the presence 
of soldiers, it was observed on landing that no guard was -stationed 
about or even at the fort; but shortly afterwards a soldier was seen 
hurrying towards the latter, in the act of dressing himself in his 
regimentals, and another running by his side, with his cartridge-box 
and musket. In a little while one was passing up and down on his 
post, as though he was as permanent there as the fort itself. 

After completing these duties, the light airs detained us the re- 
mainder of the day under Panay, in sight of the bay. On the 29th, 
at noon, we had been wafted by it far enough in the offing to obtain 
the easterly breeze, which soon became strong, with an overcast sky, 
and carried us rapidly on our course ; my time would not permit my 
heaving-to. We kept on our course for Mindanao during the whole 
night, and were constantly engaged in sounding, with our patent 
lead, with from thirty to forty fathoms cast, to prevent our passing 
over this part of the sea entirely unexamined. 

At daylight on the 31st, we had the island of Mindanao before us, 
but did not reach its western peak until 5 p. M. This island is high 
and broken, like those to the north of it, but, unlike them, its moun- 
tains are covered with forests to their very tops, and there were no 
distinct cones of minor dimensions, as we had observed on the others. 
If they do exist, they were hidden by the dense forest. 

I had determined to anchor at Caldera, a small port on the south- 
west side of Mindanao, about ten miles distant from Samboangan, 
where the governor resides. The latter is a considerable place, but 
the anchorage in its roadstead is said to be bad, and the currents 
that run through the Straits of Basillan are represented to be strong. 
Caldera, on the other hand, has a good, though small anchorage, 
which is free from the currents of the straits. It is therefore an 
excellent stopping-place, in case of the tide proving unfavourable. 
On one of its points stands a small fort, which on our arrival hoisted 
Spanish colours. 

At six o'clock we came to anchor at Caldera, in seven fathoms 
water. There were few indications of inhabitants, except at and 
near the fort. An officer was despatched to the fort, to report the 
ship. It was found to be occupied by a few soldiers under the 
command of a lieutenant. 

The fort is about seventy feet square, and is built of large blocks 
of red coral, which evidently have not been taken from the vicinity of 
the place, as was stated by the officers of the fort ; for, although our 

S O O L O O. 


parties wandered along the alluvial beach for two or three miles in 
each direction, no signs of coral were observed. Many fragments of 
red, gray, and purple basalt and porphyry were met with along the 
beach; talcose rock and slate, syenite, hornblend, quartz, both com- 
pact and slaty, with chalcedony, were found in pieces and large 
pebbles. Those who were engaged in dredging reported the bottom 
as being of coral, in from four to six or eight fathoms ; but this was 
of a different kind from that of which the fort was constructed. 



The fort was built in the year 1784, principally for protection 
against the Sooloo pirates, who were in the habit of visiting the settle- 
ments, and carrying off the inhabitants as slaves, to obtain ransom 
for them. This, and others of the same description, were therefore 
constructed as places of refuge for the inhabitants, as well as to afford 
protection to vessels. 

Depredations are still committed, which render it necessary to keep 
up a small force. One or two huts which were seen in the neigh- 
bourhood of the bay, are built on posts twenty feet from the ground, 
and into them they ascend by ladders, which are hauled up after the 
occupants have entered. 

These, it is said, are the sleeping-huts, and are so built for the 
purpose of preventing surprise at night. Before our arrival we had 
heard that the villages were all so constructed, but a visit to one soon 
showed that this was untrue. The natives seen at the village were 
thought to be of a decidedly lighter colour and a somewhat different 
expression from the Malays. They were found to be very civil, 
and more polished in manners than our gentlemen expected. On 
asking for a drink of water, it was brought in a glass tumbler on 
a china plate. An old woman, to whom they had presented some 
trifles, took the trouble to meet them in another path on their 

vol. v. 88 

350 SOOLOO. 

return, and insisted on their accepting a basket of potatoes. Some 
of the houses contained several families, and many of them had 
no other means of entrance than a notched post stuck up to the 

The forests of Mindanao contain a great variety of trees, some of 
which are of large size, rising to the height of one hundred and one 
hundred and fifty feet. Some of their trunks are shaped like but- 
tresses, similar to those before spoken of at Manilla, from which they 
obtain broad slabs for the tops of tables. The trunks were observed 
to shoot up remarkably straight. Our botanical gentlemen, though 
pleased with the excursion, were disappointed at not being able to 
procure specimens from the lofty trees ; and the day was less pro- 
ductive in this respect than they had anticipated. Large woody 
vines were common, which enveloped the trunks of trees in their 
folds, and ascending to their tops, prevented the collection of the 
most desirable specimens. 

The paths leading to the interior were narrow and much obstructed: 
one fine stream was crossed. Many buffaloes were observed wal- 
lowing in the mire, and the woods swarmed with monkeys and 
numbers of birds, among them the horn-bills : these kept up a con- 
tinued chatter, and made a variety of loud noises. The forests here 
are entirely different from any we had seen elsewhere; and the stories 
of their being the abode of large boas and poisonous snakes, make 
the effect still greater on those who visit them for the first time. 
Our parties, however, saw nothing of these reptiles, nor any thing to 
warrant a belief that such exist. Yet the officer at the fort related 
to me many snake stories that seemed to have some foundation ; and 
by inquiries made elsewhere, I learned that they were at least war- 
ranted by some facts, though probably not to the extent that he 

Traces of deer and wild hogs were seen, and many birds were ob- 
tained, as well as land and sea shells. Among the latter was the Mal- 
leus vulgaris, which is used as food by the natives. The soil on this 
part of the island is a stiff clay, and the plants it produces are mostly 
woody ; those of an herbaceous character were scarce, and only a few 
orchideous epiphytes and ferns were seen. Around the dwellings in 
the villages were a variety of vegetables and fruits, consisting of 
sugar-cane, sweet-potato, gourds, pumpkins, peppers, rice, water and 
musk melons, all fine and of large size. 

SOOLOO. 351 

The officer at the fort was a lieutenant of infantry : one of that 
rank is stationed here for a month, after which he, with the garrison, 
consisting of three soldiers, are relieved, from Samboangan, where the 
Spaniards have three companies. 

Samboangan is a convict settlement, to which the native rogues, 
principally thieves, are sent. The Spanish criminals, as I have 
before stated in speaking of Manilla, are sent to Spain. 

The inhabitants of the island of Mindanao who are under the sub- 
jection of Spain, are about ten thousand in number, of whom five or 
six thousand are at or in the neighbourhood of Samboangan. The 
original inhabitants, who dwell in the mountains and on the east coast, 
are said to be quite black, and are represented to be a very cruel and 
bad set; they have hitherto bid defiance to all attempts to subjugate 
them. When the Spaniards make excursions into the interior, which 
is seldom, they always go in large parties on account of the wild 
beasts, serpents, and hostile natives ; nevertheless, the latter fre- 
quently attack and drive them back. 

The little fort is considered as a sufficient protection for the fisher- 
men and small vessels against the pirates, who inhabit the island of 
Basillan, which is in sight from Mindanao, and forms the southern 
side of the straits of the same name. It is said that about seven 
hundred inhabit it. The name of Moor is given by the Spaniards to 
all those who profess the Mohammedan religion, and by such all the 
islands to the west of Mindanao, and known under the name of the 
Sooloo Archipelago, are inhabited. 

The day we spent at Caldera was employed in surveying the bay, 
and in obtaining observations for its geographical position, and for 
magnetism. The flood tide sets to the northward and westward, 
through the straits, and the ebb to the eastward. In the bay we 
found it to run two miles an hour by the log, but it must be much 
more rapid in the straits. 

At daylight on the 1st of February, we got under way to stand 
over for the Sangboys, a small island with two sharp hills on it. One 
and a half miles from the bay we passed over a bank, the least water 
on which was ten fathoms on a sandy bottom, and on which a vessel 
might anchor. The wind shortly after failed us, and we drifted with 
the tide for some hours, in full view of the island of Mindanao, 
which is bold and picturesque. We had thus a good opportunity of 
measuring some of its mountain ranges, which we made about three 
thousand feet high. 

352 S O O L O O. 

In the afternoon, a light hreeze came from the southwest, and 
before sunset I found that we were again on soundings. As soon 
as we had a cast of twenty fathoms, I anchored for the night, judging 
it much better than to be drifting about without any knowledge of 
the locality and currents to which we were subjected. 

On the morning of the 2d, we got under way to proceed to the 
westward. As the bottom was unequal, I determined to pass through 
the broadest channel, although it had the appearance of being the 
shoalest, and sent two boats ahead to sound. In this way we passed 
through, continuing our surveying operations, and at the same time 
made an attempt to dredge ; but the ground was too uneven for the 
latter purpose, and little of value was obtained. 

Shortly after passing the Sangboys, we had the island of Sooloo 
in sight, for which I now steered direct. At sunset we found our- 
selves within five or six miles of Soung Harbour; but there was not 
sufficient light to risk the dangers that might be in our course, nor 
wind enough to command the ship ; and having no bottom where we 
were, I determined again to run out to sea, and anchor on the first 
bank I should meet. At half-past eight o'clock, we struck sounding 
in twenty-six fathoms, and anchored. 

At daylight we determined our position by angles, and found it 
to correspond with part of the route we had passed over the day 
before, and that we were about fifteen miles from the large island of 
Sooloo. Weighing anchor, we were shortly wafted by the westerly 
tide and a light air towards that beautiful island, which lay in the 
midst of its little archipelago ; and as we were brought nearer and 
nearer, we came to the conclusion that in our many wanderings we 
had seen nothing to be compared to this enchanting spot. It ap- 
peared to be well cultivated, with gentle slopes rising here and 
there into eminences from one to two thousand feet high. One or 
two of these might be dignified with the name of mountains, and 
were sufficiently high to arrest the passing clouds, on the afternoon 
of our arrival we had a singular example in the dissipation of a thun- 

Although much of the island was under cultivation, yet it had all 
the freshness of a forest region. The many smokes on the hills, build- 
ings of large size, cottages, and cultivated spots, together with the 
moving crowds on the land, the prahus, canoes, and fishing-boats on 
the water, gave the whole a civilized appearance. Our own vessel 
lay, almost without a ripple at her side, on the glassy surface of the 

S O O L O O. 


sea, carried onwards to our destined anchorage by the flowing tide, 
and scarce a sound was heard except the splashing of the lead as it 
sought the bottom. The effect of this was destroyed in part by the 
knowledge that this beautiful archipelago was the abode of a cruel 
and barbarous race of pirates. Towards sunset we had nearly 
reached the bay of Soung, when we were met by the opposing tide, 
which frustrated all our endeavours to reach it, and I was compelled 
to anchor, lest we should again be swept to sea. 

As soon as the night set in, fishermen's lights were seen moving 
along the beach in all directions, and gliding about in canoes, while 
the sea was filled with myriads of phosphorescent animalcule. After 
watching this scene for two or three hours in the calm and still night, 
a storm that had been gathering reached us ; but it lasted only for a 
short time, and cleared off after a shower, which gave the air a 
freshness that was delightful after the sultry heat we had experienced 
during the day. 

The canoes of this archipelago were found to be different from any 
that we had heretofore seen, not only in shape but in making use of 
a double out-rigger, which consequently must 
give them additional security. The paddle 
also is of a different shape, and has a blade at 
each end, which are used alternately, thus 
enabling a single person to manage them with 
ease. These canoes are made of a single log, 
though some are built upon. They seldom 


more than two 

The annexed figure will give a correct idea of one of them. 


We saw the fishermen engaged in trolling and using the line; but 
the manner of taking fish which has been heretofore described is 
chiefly practised. In fishing, as well as in all their other employ- 
ments, the kris and spear were invariably by their side. 

The next morning at eight o'clock we got under way, and were 
towed by our boats into the bay of Soung, where we anchored off the 
town in nine fathoms water. While in the act of doing so, and after 


VOL. V. 


S O O L O O. 

our intentions had become too evident to admit of a doubt, the Sultan 
graciously sent off a message giving us permission to enter his port. 

Lieutenant Budd was immediately despatched with the interpreter 
to call upon the Datu Mulu or governor, and to learn at what hour 
we could see the Sultan. When that officer reached the town, all 
were found asleep ; and after remaining four hours waiting, the only 
answer he could get out of the Datu Mulu was, that he supposed 
that the Sultan would be awake at three o'clock, when he thought I 
could see him. 

During this time the boats had been prepared for surveying ; and 
after landing the naturalists, they began the work. 

At the appointed time, Captain Hudson and myself went on shore 
to wait upon the Sultan. On our approach to the town, we found 
that a great proportion of it was built over the water on piles, and 
only connected with the shore by narrow bridges of bamboo. The 
style of building in Sooloo does not differ materially from that of the 
Malays. The houses are rather larger, and they surpass the others 
in filth. 


We passed for some distance between the bridges to the landing, 
and on our way saw several piratical prahus apparently laid up. 
Twenty of these were counted, of about thirty tons burden, evidently 
built for sea-vessels, and capable of mounting one or two long guns. 
We landed at a small streamlet, and walked a short distance to 
the Datu's house, which is of large dimensions and rudely built 
on piles, which raise it about six feet above the ground, and into 
which we were invited. The house of the Datu contains one room, 
part of which is screened off to form the apartment of his wife. 
Nearly in the centre is a raised dais, eight or ten feet square, under 
which are stowed all his valuables, packed in chests and Chinese 
trunks. Upon this dais are placed mats for sleeping, with cushions, 
pillows, &c. ; and over it is a sort of canopy, hung round with fine 
chintz or muslin. 

S O O L O O. 355 

The dais was occupied by the Datu who is, next to the Sultan, the 
greatest man of this island. He at once came from it to receive us, 
and had chairs provided for us near his sanctum. After we were 
seated, he again retired to his lounge. The Datu is small in person, 
and emaciated in form, but has a quick eye and an intelligent counte- 
nance. He lives, as he told me, with all his goods around him, and 
they formed a collection such as I could scarcely imagine it possible 
to bring together in such a place. The interior put me in mind of 
a barn inhabited by a company of strolling players. On one side 
were hung up a collection of various kinds of gay dresses, here drums 
and gongs, there swords, lanterns, spears, muskets, and small cannon ; 
on another side were shields, bucklers, masks, saws, and wheels, with 
belts, bands, and long robes. The whole was a strange mixture of 
tragedy and farce ; and the group of natives were not far removed in 
appearance from the supernumeraries that a Turkish tragedy might 
have brought together in the green-room of a theatre. A set of more 
cowardly-looking miscreants I never saw. They appeared ready 
either to trade with us, pick our pockets, or cut our throats, as an 
opportunity might offer. 

The wife's apartment was not remarkable for its comforts, although 
the Datu spoke of it with much consideration, and evidently held 
his better half in high estimation. He was also proud of his six 
children, the youngest of whom he brought out in its nurse's arms, 
and exhibited with much pride and satisfaction. He particularly 
drew my attention to its little highly-wrought and splendidly-mounted 
kris, which was stuck through its girdle, as an emblem of his rank. 
It was in reality a fine-looking child. The kitchen was behind the 
house, and occupied but a small space, for they have little in the way 
of food that requires much preparation. The house of the Datu 
might justly be termed nasty. 

We now learned the reason why the Sultan could not be seen : it 
was Friday, the Mahomedan Sabbath, and he had been at the mosque 
from an early hour. Lieutenant Budd had been detained, because it 
was not known when he would finish his prayers; and the cere- 
monies of the day were more important than usual, on account of its 
peculiar sanctity in their calendar. 

Word had been sent off to the ship that the Sultan was ready to 
receive me, but the messenger passed us while on our way to the shore. 
After we had been seated for a while, the Datu asked if we were 
ready to accompany him to see the Sultan ; but intimated that no one 
but Captain Hudson and myself could be permitted to lay eyes on 


him. Being informed that we were, he at once, and in our presence, 
slipped on his silken trousers, and a new jacket, covered with bell- 
buttons ; put on his slippers, strapped himself round with a long silken 
net sash, into which he stuck his kris, and, with umbrella in hand, 
said he was ready. He now led the way out of his house, leaving 
the motley group behind, and we took the path to the interior of the 
town, towards the Sultan's. The Datu and I walked hand in hand, 
on a roadway about ten feet wide, with a small stream running on 
each side. Captain Hudson and the interpreter came next, and a 
guard of six trusty slaves brought up the rear. 

When we reached the outskirts of the town, about half a mile from 
the Datu's, we came to the Sultan's residence, where he was pre- 
pared to receive us in state. His house is constructed in the same 
manner as that of the Datu, but is of larger dimensions, and the 
piles are rather higher. Instead of steps, we found a ladder, rudely 
constructed of bamboo, and very crazy. This was so steep that it 
was necessary to use the hands in mounting it. I understood that 
the ladder was always removed in the night, for the sake of security. 
We entered at once into the presence-chamber, where the whole 
divan, if such it may be called, sat in arm-chairs, occupying the half 
of a large round table, covered with a white cotton cloth. On the 
opposite side of the table, seats were placed for us. On our approach, 
the Sultan and all his council rose, and motioned us to our seats. 
When we had taken them, the part of the room behind us was 
literally crammed with well-armed men. A few minutes were passed 
in silence, during which time we had an opportunity of looking at 
each other, and around the hall in which we were seated. The 
latter was of very common workmanship, and exhibited no signs 
of oriental magnificence. Overhead hung a printed cotton cloth, 
forming a kind of tester, which" covered about half of the apartment. 
In other places the roof and rafters were visible. A part of the house 
was roughly partitioned off, to the height of nine or ten feet, enclos- 
ing, as I was afterwards told, the Sultan's sleeping apartment, and 
that appropriated to his wife and her attendants. 

The Sultan is of the middle height, spare and thin ; he was dressed 
in a white cotton shirt, loose trousers of the same material, and 
slippers ; he had no stockings ; the bottom of his trousers was worked 
in scollops with blue silk, and this was the only ornament I saw 
about him. On his head he wore a small coloured cotton handker- 
chief, wound into a turban, that just covered the top of his head. His 
eyes were bloodshot, and had an uneasy wild look, showing that 

S O O L O O. 357 

he was under the effects of opium, of which they all smoke large 
quantities.* His teeth were as black as ebony, which, with his bright 
cherry-coloured lips, contrasted with his swarthy skin, gave him any 
thing but a pleasant look. 

On the left hand of the Sultan sat his two sons, while his right was 
occupied by his councillors ; just behind him, sat the carrier of his 
betel-nut casket. The casket was of filigree silver, about the size 
of a small tea-caddy, of oblong shape, and rounded at the top. It 
had three divisions, one for the leaf, another for the nut, and a third 
for the lime. Next to this official was the pipe-bearer, who did not 
appear to be held in such estimation as the former. 

I opened the conversation by desiring that the Datu would explain 
the nature of our visit, and tell the Sultan that I had come to make 
the treaty which he had some time before desired to form with the 
United States. f 

The Sultan replied, that such was still his desire; upon which I 
told him, I would draw one up for him, that same day. While I 
was explaining to him the terms, a brass candlestick was brought in 
with a lighted tallow candle, of a very dark colour, and rude shape, 
that showed but little art in the manufacture. This was placed in 
the centre of the table, with a plate of Manilla cigars. None of 
them, however, were offered to us, nor any kind of refreshment. 

Our visit lasted nearly an hour. When we arose to take our leave, 
the Sultan and his divan did the same, and we made our exit with 
low bows on each side. 

I looked upon it as a matter of daily occurrence for all those who 
came to the island to visit the Sultan ; but the Datu Mulu took 
great pains to make me believe that a great favour had been granted 
in allowing us a sight of his ruler. On the other hand, I dwelt upon 
the condescension it was on my part to visit him, and I refused to 
admit that I was under any gratitude or obligation for the sight of 
His Majesty the Sultan Mohammed Damaliel Kisand, but said that 
he might feel grateful to me if he signed the treaty I would prepare 
for him. 

On our return from the Sultan's to the Datu Mulu's house, we 

* Chewing the betel-nut and pepper-leaf also produces this effect, and is carried to a 
great extent among these islanders. 

t The Sultan, on the visit of one of our merchant-vessels, had informed the supercargo 
that he wished to encourage our trade, and to see the vessels of the United States coming 
to his port. 

vol. v. 90 

358 SOOLOO. 

found even a greater crowd than before. The Datu, however, con- 
trived to get us seats. The attraction which drew it together was to 
look at Mr. Agate, who was taking a sketch of Mohammed Polalu, 
the Sultan's son, and next heir to the throne. I had hoped to 
procure one of the Sultan, but this was declared to be impossible. 
The son, however, has all the characteristics of the Sooloos, and 
the likeness was thought an excellent one. Mohammed Polalu 
is about twenty-three years of age, of a tall slender figure, with a 
long face, heavy and dull eyes, as though he was constantly under 
the influence of opium. So much, indeed, was he addicted to the 
use of this drug, even according to the Datu Mulu's accounts, that 
his strength and constitution were very much impaired. As he is 
kept particularly under the guardianship of the Datu, the latter has 
a strong interest in preserving this influence over him, and seems on 
this account to afford him every opportunity of indulging in this 
deplorable habit. 

During our visit, the effects of a pipe of this drug was seen upon 
him ; for but a short time after he had reclined himself on the Datu's 
couch and cushion, and taken a few whiffs, he was entirely overcome, 
stupid, and listless. I had never seen any one so young, bearing 
such evident marks of the effects of this deleterious drug. When but 
partially recovered from its effects he called for his betel-nut, to 
revive him by its exciting effects. This was carefully chewed by his 
attendant to a proper consistency, moulded in a ball about the size of 
a walnut, and then slipped into the mouth of the heir apparent. 

One of the requests I had made of the Sultan was, that the officers 
might have guides to pass over the island. This was at once said to 
be too dangerous to be attempted, as the datus of the interior and 
southern towns would in all probability attack the parties. I under- 
stood what this meant, and replied that I was quite willing to take 
the responsibility, and that the party should be well armed. To this 
the Sultan replied, that he would not risk his own men. This I saw 
was a mere evasion, but it was difficult and would be dangerous for 
our gentlemen to proceed alone, and I therefore said no more. On 
our return to the Datu's, I gave them permission to get as far from 
the beach as they could, but I was afterwards informed by them that 
in endeavouring to penetrate into the woods, they were always 
stopped by armed men. This was also the case when they ap- 
proached particular parts of the town, but they were not molested as 
long as their rambles were confined to the beach. At the Datu's 


SOOLOO. 359 

we were treated to chocolate and negus in gilt-edge tumblers, with 
small stale cakes, which had been brought from Manilla. 

After we had sat some time I was informed that Mr. Dana missed 
his bowie-knife pistol, which he had for a moment laid down on a 
chest. I at once came to the conclusion that it had been stolen, and 
as the theft had occurred in the Datu's house, I determined to hold 
him responsible for it, and gave him at once to understand that I 
should do so, informing him that the pistol must be returned before 
the next morning, or he must take the consequences. This threw 
him into some consternation, and by my manner he felt that I was 

Captain Hudson and myself, previous to our return on board, 
visited the principal parts of the town. The Chinese quarter is sepa- 
rated by a body of water, and has a gateway that leads to a bridge. 
The bridge is covered by a roof, and on each side of it are small 
shops, which are open in front, and thus expose the goods they con- 
tain. In the rear of the shops were the dwellings of the dealers. 
This sort of bazaar contained but a very scanty assortment, and the 
goods were of inferior quality. 

We visited some blacksmith-shops, where they were manufacturing 
krises and spears. These shops were open sheds; the fire was made 
upon the ground, and two wooden cylinders, whose valves were in the 
bottom, served for bellows; when used, they had movable pistons 
which were worked by a man on an elevated seat, and answered the 
purpose better than could have been expected. 

The kris is a weapon in which this people take great pride ; it is 
of various shapes and sizes, and is invariably worn from infancy to 
old age ; they are generally wavy in their blades, and are worn in 
wooden scabbards, which are neatly made and highly polished. This 
weapon is represented in the tail-piece to this chapter. 

The market was well stocked with fruit and fish. Among the 
former the durian seemed to predominate ; this was the first time we 
had seen it. It has a very disagreeable odour, as if decayed, and 
appears to emit a sulphuretted hydrogen gas, which I observed black- 
ened silver. Some have described this fruit as delicious, but if the 
smell is not enough, the taste in my opinion will convince any one of 
the contrary. 

Mr. Brackenridge made the following list of their fruits : Durian, 
Artocarpus integrifolia, Melons, water and musk, Oranges, man- 
darin and bitter, Pine-apples, Carica papaya, Mangosteen, Bread- 

360 S O O L O O. 

fruit, Cocoa and Betel-nut. The vegetables were capsicums, cu- 
cumbers, yams, sweet-potatoes, garlic, onions, edible fern-roots, and 
radishes of the salmon variety, but thicker and more acrid in 

In walking about the parts of the town we were permitted to enter, 
large slabs of cut granite were seen, which were presumed to be from 
China, where the walls of canals or streamlets are lined with it. 
But Dr. Pickering in his rambles discovered pieces that had been 
cut as if to form a monument, and remarked a difference between it 
and the Chinese kind. On one or two pieces he saw the mark No. 1, 
in black paint ; the material resembled the Chelmsford granite, and 
it occurred to him that the stone had been cut in Boston.* I did not 
hear of this circumstance until after we had left Sooloo, and have 
little doubt now that the interdiction against our gentlemen visiting 
some parts of the town was owing to the fact of the discovery of this 
plunder. This may have been the reason why they so readily com- 
plied with my demands, in order to get rid of us as soon as possible, 
feeling themselves guilty, and being unprepared for defence ; for, of 
the numerous guns mounted, few if any were serviceable. 

The theft of the pistol was so barefaced an affair, that I made up 
my mind to insist on its restoration. At the setting of the watch in 
the evening, it had been our practice on board the Vincennes to fire 
a small brass howitzer. This frequently, in the calm evenings, pro- 
duced a great reverberation, and rolled along the water to the sur- 
rounding islands with considerable noise. Instead of it, on this 
evening, I ordered one of the long guns to be fired, believing that the 
sound and reverberation alone would suffice to intimidate such robbers. 
One was accordingly fired in the direction of the town, which fairly 
shook the island, as they said, and it was not long before we saw 
that the rogues were fully aroused, for the clatter of gongs and 
voices that came over the water, and the motion of lights, convinced 
me that the pistol would be forthcoming in the morning. In this I 
was not mistaken, for at early daylight I was awakened by a special 
messenger from the Datu to tell me that the pistol was found, and 
would be brought off without delay ; that he had been searching for 

* Since our return, inquiries have been made by him, which resulted in proving that 
such was in truth their origin, and that the vessel in which they were shipped was for 
a long time missing. The identical stones which he saw were a part of a monument 
that was on its way to Canton. 

SO O LOO. 361 

it all night, and had at last succeeded in finding it, as well as the 
thief, on whom he intended to inflict the bastinado. Accordingly, in 
a short time the pistol was delivered on board, and every expression 
of friendship and good-will given, with the strongest assurances that 
nothing of the kind should happen again. 

As our naturalists could have no opportunity of rambling over the 
island of Sooloo, it was thought that one of the neighbouring islands 
(although not so good a field) would afford them many of the same 
results, and that they could examine it unmolested. Accordingly, 
at an early hour, they were despatched in boats for that purpose, with 
a sufficient guard to attend them in case of necessity. The island 
on which they landed is called Marongas on the map of the group 
annexed to this chapter. On it are two hills of volcanic conglome- 
rate and vesicular lava, containing angular fragments embedded. 
The bottom was covered with living coral, of every variety, and of 
different colours; but there was nothing like a regular coral shelf, 
and the beach was composed of bits of coral intermixed with dead 
shells, both entire and comminuted. The centre of the island was 
covered with mangrove-bushes; the hills were cones, but had no 
craters on them. The mangroves had grown in clusters, giving the 
appearance of a number of small islands. This, with the neighbour- 
ing islets, were thought to be composed in a great part of coral, but 
it was impossible for our gentlemen to determine the fact. 

The day was exceedingly hot, and the island was suffering to such 
a degree from drought that the leaves in many cases were curled and 
appeared dry. On the face of the rocky cliff they saw many swallows 
(hirundo esculenta) flying in and out of the caverns facing the sea ; 
but they were not fortunate enough to find any of the edible nests, so 
much esteemed by Chinese epicures. 

At another part of the island they heard the crowing of a cock, 
and discovered a small village, almost hidden by the mangroves, 
and built over the water. In the neighbourhood were several fish- 
baskets set out to dry, as well as a quantity of fencing for weirs, all 
made of rattan. Their shape was somewhat peculiar. After a little 
while the native fishermen were seen approaching, who evidently 
had a knowledge of their visit from the first. They came near with 
great caution in their canoes; but after the first had spoken and 
reconnoitered, several others landed, exhibiting no signs of embarrass- 
ment, and soon motioned our party off. To indicate that force would 
be resorted to, in case of refusal, at the same time they pointed to their 

VOL. V. 91 

362 SOOLOO. 

arms, and drew their krises. Our gentlemen took this all in good 
part, and after dispensing a few trifling presents among them, began 
their retreat with a convenient speed, without, however, compro- 
mising their dignity. 

The excursion had been profitable in the way of collections, 
having yielded a number of specimens of shrubs and trees, both in 
flower and fruit; but owing to the drought, the herbaceous plants 
were, for the most part, dried up. Among the latter, however, they 
saw a large and fine terrestrial species of Epidendrum, whose stem 
grew to the height of several feet, and when surmounted by its flowers 
reached twelve or fifteen feet high. Many of the salt-marsh plants 
seen in the Feejees, were also observed here. Besides the plants, 
some shells and a beautiful cream-coloured pigeon were obtained. 

During the day we were busily engaged in the survey of the 
harbour, and in making astronomical and magnetical observations 
on the beach, while some of the officers were employed purchasing 
curiosities, on shore, at the town, and alongside the ship. These 
consisted of krises, spears, shields, and shells; and the Sooloos 
were not slow in comprehending the kind of articles we were in 
search of. 

Few if any of the Sooloos can write or read, though many speak 
Spanish. Their accounts are all kept by the slaves. Those who 
can read and write are, in consequence, highly prized. All the 
accounts of the Datu of Soung are kept in Dutch, by a young 
Malay from Ternate, who writes a good hand, and speaks English, 
and whom we found exceedingly useful to us. He is the slave of the 
Datu, who employs him for this purpose only. He told us he was 
captured in a brig by the pirates of Basillan, and sold here as a slave, 
where he is likely to remain for life, although he says the Datu has 
promised to give him his freedom after ten years. 

Horses, cows, and buffaloes are the beasts of burden, and a Sooloo 
may usually be seen riding either one or the other, armed cap-a-pie, 
with kris, spear, and target, or shield. 

They use saddles cut out of solid wood, and many ride with their 
stirrups so short that they bring the knees very high, and the 
riders look more like well-grown monkeys than mounted men. The 
cows and buffaloes are guided by a piece of thong, through the 
cartilage of the nose. By law, no swine are allowed to be kept on the 
island, and if any are brought, they are immediately killed. The 
Chinese are obliged to raise and kill their pigs very secretly, when 

S O O L O O. 


they desire that species of food ; for, notwithstanding the law and the 
prejudices of the inhabitants, the former continue to keep swine. 


The inhabitants of Sooloo are a tall, thin, and effeminate-looking 
race : I do not recollect to have seen one corpulent person among 
them. Their faces are peculiar for length, particularly in the lower 
jaw and chin, with high cheek-bones, sunken, lack-lustre eyes, and 
narrow foreheads. Their heads are thinly covered with hair, which 
appears to be kept closely cropped. I was told that they pluck out 
their beards, and dye their teeth black with antimony. 

Their eyebrows appear to be shaven, forming a very regular and 
high arch, which they esteem a great beauty. 

The dress of the common people is very like that of the Chinese, 
with loose and full sleeves, without buttons. The materials of which 
it is made are grass-cloth, silks, satins, or white cotton, from China. 
I should judge, from the appearance of their persons, that they ought 
to be termed, so far as ablutions go, a cleanly people. There is no 
outward respect or obeisance shown by the slave to his master, nor 
is the presence of the Datu, or even of the Sultan himself, held in 
any awe. All appear upon an equality, and there does not seem to 
be any controlling power; yet it may be at once perceived that they 
are suspicious and jealous of strangers. 

The Sooloos, although they are ready to do any thing for the sake 
of plunder, even to the taking of life, yet are not disposed to hoard 
their ill-gotten wealth, and, with all their faults, cannot be termed 

364 S O O L O O. 

They have but few qualities to redeem their treachery, cruelty, and 
revengeful dispositions; and one of the principal causes of their being 
so predominant, or even of their existence, is their inordinate lust for 
power. When they possess this, it is accompanied by a haughty, 
consequential, and ostentatious bravery. No greater affront can be 
offered to a Sooloo, than to underrate his dignity and official conse- 
quence. Such an insult is seldom forgiven, and never forgotten. 
From one who has made numerous voyages to these islands, I have 
obtained many of the above facts, and my own observation assures 
me that this view of their character is a correct one. I would, how- 
ever, add another trait, which is common among them, and that is 
cowardice, which is obvious, in spite of their boasted prowess and 
daring. This trait of character is universally ascribed to them 
among the Spaniards in the Philippines, who ought to be well 
acquainted with them. 

The dress of the women is not unlike that of the men in appear- 
ance. They wear close jackets of various colours when they go 
abroad, and the same loose breeches as the men, but over them they 
usually have a large wrapper (sarong), not unlike the pareu of the 
Polynesian islanders, which is put round them like a petticoat, or 
thrown over the shoulders. Their hair is drawn to the back of the 
head, and around the forehead it is shaven in the form of a regular 
arch, to correspond with the eyebrows. Those that I saw at the 
Sultan's were like the Malays, and had light complexions with very 
black teeth. The Datu thought them very handsome, and on our 
return he asked me if I had seen the Sultan's beauties. The 
females of Sooloo have the reputation of ruling their lords, and 
possess much weight in the government by the influence they exert 
over their husbands. 

It may be owing to this that there is little jealousy of their wives, 
who are said to hold their virtues in no very great estimation. In 
their houses they are but scantily clothed, though women of rank have 
always a large number of rings on their fingers, some of which are 
of great value, as well as earrings of fine gold. They wear no stock- 
ings, but have on Chinese slippers, or Spanish shoes. They are as 
capable of governing as their husbands, and in many cases more so, 
as they associate with the slaves, from whom they obtain some know- 
ledge of Christendom, and of the habits and customs of other nations, 
which they study to imitate in every way. 

The mode in which the Sooloos employ their time may be exem- 

S O O L O O. 365 

plified by giving that of the Datu ; for all, whether free or slave, 
endeavour to imitate the higher rank as far as is in their power. 
The datus seldom rise before eleven o'clock, unless they have some 
particular business ; and the Datu Mulu complained of being sleepy 
in consequence of the early hour at which we had disturbed him. 

On rising, they have chocolate served in gilt glass-ware, with some 
light biscuit, and sweetmeats imported from China or Manilla, of 
which they informed me they laid in large supplies. They then 
lounge about their houses, transacting a little business, and playing 
at various games, or, in the trading season, go to the meeting of the 
Rum a Bechara. 

At sunset they take their principal meal, consisting of stews of 
fish, poultry, beef, eggs, and rice, prepared somewhat after the Chinese 
and Spanish modes, mixed up with that of the Malay. Although 
Moslems, they do not forego the use of wine, and some are said to 
indulge in it to a great extent. After sunset, when the air has be- 
come somewhat cooled by the refreshing breezes, they sally forth 
attended by their retainers to take a walk, or proceed to the bazaars 
to purchase goods, or to sell or to barter away their articles of pro- 
duce. They then pay visits to their friends, when they are in the 
habit of having frequent convivial parties, talking over their bargains, 
smoking cigars, drinking wine and liquors, tea, coffee, and chocolate, 
and indulging in their favourite pipe of opium. At times they are 
entertained with music, both vocal and instrumental, by their de- 
pendants. Of this art they appear to be very fond, and there are 
many musical instruments among them. A datu, indeed, would be 
looked upon as uneducated if he could not play on some instrument. 

It is considered polite that when refreshments are handed they 
should be partaken of. Those offered us by the Datu were such as 
are usual, but every thing was stale. Of fruit they are said to be 
very fond, and can afford to indulge themselves in some kinds. 
With all these articles to cloy the appetite, only one set meal a day 
is taken ; though the poorer classes, fishermen and labourers, partake 
of two. 

The government of the Sooloo Archipelago is a kind of oligarchy, 
and the supreme authority is vested in the Sultan and the Rutna 
Bechara or trading council. This consists of about twenty chiefs, 
either datus, or their next in rank, called orangs, who are governors 
of towns or detached provinces. The influence of the individual 
chiefs depends chiefly upon the number of their retainers or slaves, 

vol. v. 9*2 

;366 SO O LOO. 

and the force they can bring into their service when they require 
it. These are purchased from the pirates, who bring them to Sooloo 
and its dependencies for sale. The slaves are employed in a variety 
of ways, as in trading prahus, in the pearl and biche de mar fisheries, 
and in the search after the edible birds'-nests. 

A few are engaged in agriculture, and those who are at all edu- 
cated are employed as clerks. These slaves are not denied the right 
of holding property, which they enjoy during their lives, but at their 
death it reverts to the master. Some of them are quite rich, and 
what may appear strange, the slaves of Sooloo are invariably better 
off than the untitled freemen, who are at all times the prey of the 
hereditary datus, even of those who hold no official stations. By all 
accounts these constitute a large proportion of the population, and it 
being treason for any low-born freeman to injure or maltreat a datu, 
the latter, who are of a haughty, overbearing, and tyrannical dispo- 
sition, seldom keep themselves within bounds in their treatment of 
their inferiors. The consequence is, the lower class of freemen are 
obliged to put themselves under the protection of some particular 
datu, which guards them from the encroachment of others. The 
chief to whom they thus attach themselves, is induced to treat them 
well, in order to retain their services, and attach them to his person, 
that he may, in case of need, be enabled to defend himself from 
depredations, and the violence of his neighbours. 

Such is the absence of legal restraint, that all find it necessary to go 
abroad armed, and accompanied by a trusty set of followers, who are 
also armed. This is the case both by day and night, and, according 
to the Datu's account, frequent affrays take place in the open streets, 
which not unfrequently end in bloodshed. 

Caution is never laid aside, the only law that exists being that of 
force ; but the weak contrive to balance the power of the strong by 
uniting. They have not only contentions and strife among them- 
selves, but it was stated at Manilla that the mountaineers of Sooloo, 
who are said to be Christians, occasionally make inroads upon them. 
At Sooloo, however, it did not appear that they were under much ap- 
prehension of these attacks. The only fear I heard expressed was by 
the Sultan, in my interview with him; and the cause of this, as I 
have already stated, was probably a desire to find an excuse for not 
affording us facilities to go into the interior. Within twenty years, 
however, the reigning sultan has been obliged to retire within his 
forts, in the town of Sooloo, which I have before adverted to. 

S O O L O O. 367 

These people are hostile to the Sooloos of the coast and towns, who 
take every opportunity to rob them of their cattle and property, for 
which the mountaineers seek retaliation when they have an oppor- 
tunity. From the manner in which the Datu spoke of them, they 
are not much regarded. Through another source I learned that the 
mountaineers were Papuans, and the original inhabitants of the 
islands, who pay tribute to the Sultan, and have acknowledged his 
authority, ever since they were converted to Islamism. Before that 
time they were considered extremely ferocious, and whenever it was 
practicable they were destroyed. Others speak of an original race of 
Dyacks in the interior, but there is one circumstance to satisfy me 
that there is no confidence to be placed in this account, namely, that 
the island is not of sufficient extent to accommodate so numerous a 
population as some ascribe to it. 

The forts consist of a double row of piles, filled in with coral 
blocks. That situated on the east side of the small stream may be 
said to mount a few guns, but these are altogether inefficient; and in 
another, on the west side, which is rather a rude embankment than a 
fort, there are some twelve or fifteen pieces of large calibre; but I 
doubt very much if they had been fired off for years, and many of the 
houses built upon the water would require to be pulled down before 
these guns could be brought to bear upon any thing on the side of 
the bay, supposing them to be in a good condition ; a little farther to 
the east of the town, I was informed they had a kind of stockade, but 
none of us were permitted to see it. 

According to our estimates, and the information we received while 
at Sooloo, the island itself does not contain more than thirty thousand 
inhabitants, of which the town of Soung may have six or seven thou- 
sand. The whole group may number about one hundred and thirty 
thousand. I am aware, however, that it is difficult to estimate the 
population of a half-civilized people, who invariably exaggerate their 
own strength ; and visiters are likewise prone to do the same thing. 
The Chinese comprise about an eighth of the population of the town, 
and are generally of the lower class. They are constantly busy at 
their trades, and intent upon making money. 

At Soung, business seems active, and all, slaves as well as masters, 
seem to engage in it. The absence of a strong government leaves all 
at liberty to act for themselves, and the Ruma Bechara gives unlimited 
freedom to trade. These circumstances promote the industry of the 

368 SOOLOO. 

community, and even that of the slave, for he too, as before observed, 
has a life interest in what he earns. 

Soung being the residence of the Sultan, as well as the grand 
depot for all piratical goods, is probably more of a mart than 
any of the surrounding towns. In the months of March and April 
it is visited by several Chinese junks, who remain trading until the 
beginning of the month of August. If delayed after that time, they 
can scarcely return in safety, being unable to contend with the bois- 
terous weather and head winds that then prevail in the Chinese seas. 
These junks are said to come chiefly from Amoy, where the cottons, 
&c, best suited for the Sooloos arc made. Their cargoes consist of a 
variety of articles of Chinese manufacture and produce, such as 
silk, satin goods, cottons, red and checked, grass-cloth clothing, 
handkerchiefs, cutlery, guns, ammunition, opium, lumber, china 
and glass-ware, rice, sugar, oil, lard, and butter. In return for this 
merchandise they obtain camphor, birds'-nests, rattans, biche de mar, 
pearls and pearl-shells, cocoa, tortoise-shell, and wax ; but there is no 
great quantity of these articles to be obtained, perhaps not more than 
two or three cargoes during the season. The trade requires great 
knowledge of the articles purchased, for the Chinese and Sooloos are 
both such adepts in fraud, that great caution and circumspection are 

The duties on importation are not fixed, but are changed and altered 
from time to time by the Ruma Bechara. The following was stated 
to me as the necessary payments before trade could be carried on. 

A large ship, with Chinese on board, pays . . . $2,000 
without " " " ... 1,800 

Small ships, 1,500 

Large brig, ........ 1,000 

Small brig, 500 

Schooners, ...... from 150 to 400 

This supposes them all to have full cargoes. That a difference 
should be made in a vessel with or without Chinamen, seems sin- 
gular ; but this, I was told, arose from the circumstance that English 
vessels take them on board, in order to detect and prevent the imposi- 
tions of the Sooloos. 

Vessels intending to trade at Soung should arrive before the 
Chinese junks, and remain as long as they stay, or even a few days 

SOOLOO. 369 

later. In trading with the natives, all operations ought to be carried 
on for cash, or if by barter, no delivery should be made until the 
articles to be taken in exchange are received. In short, it is neces- 
sary to deal with them as though they were undoubted rogues, and 
this pleases them much more than to appear unsuspicious. Vessels 
that trade engage a bazaar, which they hire of the Ruma Bechara, 
and it is advisable to secure the good-will of the leading datus in that 
council by presents, and paying them more for their goods than others. 

There are various other precautions necessary in dealing with this 
people ; for they will, if possible, so act as to give rise to disputes, in 
which case an appeal is made to their fellows, who are sure to decide 
against the strangers. Those who have been engaged in this trade, 
advise that the prices of the goods should be fixed upon before the 
Sultan, and the scales of the Datu of Soung employed ; for although 
these are quite faulty, the error is compensated by the articles re- 
ceived being weighed in the same. This also secures the Datu's 
good-will, by the fee (some fifty dollars) which he receives for the 
use of them. Thus it will be perceived that those who desire to 
trade with Sooloo, must make up their minds to encounter many im- 
positions, and to be continually watchful of their own interests. 

Every possible precaution ought to be taken ; and it will be found, 
the treatment will depend upon, or be according to the force or reso- 
lution that is displayed. In justice to this people it must be stated, 
there have been times when traders received every kindness and atten- 
tion at the island of Sooloo, and I heard it even said, that many vessels 
had gone there to refit ; but during the last thirty or forty years, the 
reigning sultans and their subjects have become hostile to Europeans, 
of whom they plunder and destroy as many as they can, and this they 
have hitherto been allowed to do with impunity. 

Although I have described the trade with Sooloo as limited, yet it 
is capable of greater extension ; and had it not been for the piratical 
habits of the people, the evil report of which has been so widely 
spread, Sooloo would now have been one of the principal marts of 
the East. The most fertile parts of Borneo are subject to its autho- 
rity. There all the richest productions of these Eastern seas grow in 
immense quantities, but are now left ungarnered in consequence of 
there being no buyers. The cost of their cultivation would be ex- 
ceedingly low, and I am disposed to believe that these articles could 
be produced here at a lower cost than any where else. 

Besides the trade with China, there is a very considerable one with 
vol. v. 93 

370 SOOLoo. 

Manilla in small articles, and I found one of our countrymen engaged 
in this traffic, under the Spanish flag. To him I am indebted for 
much information that his opportunities of observation had given him. 

The materials for the history of Sooloo are meagre, and great doubt 
seems to exist in some periods of it. That which I have been able to 
gather is as follows. 

The island of Sooloo is generally believed to have been originally 
inhabited by Papuans, some of whom, as I have already stated, are 
still supposed to inhabit the mountainous part. The first intercourse 
had with them was by the Chinese, who went there in search of 
pearls. The Orang Dampuwans were the first of the Malays to 
form settlements on the islands ; but after building towns, and making 
other improvements, they abandoned the islands, in consequence, it 
is said, of the inhabitants being a perfidious race, having previously 
to their departure destroyed as many of the natives as they could. 

The fame of the submarine riches of this archipelago reached 
Banjar, or Borneo, the people of which were induced to resort there, 
and finding it to equal their expectation, they sent a large colony, and 
made endeavours to win over the inhabitants, and obtain thereby the 
possession of their rich isle. In order to confirm the alliance, a female 
of Banjarmassing, of great beaiity, was sent, and married to the prin- 
cipal chief; and from this alliance the sovereigns of Sooloo claim their 
descent. The treaty of marriage made Sooloo tributary to the Ban- 
jarmassing empire. 

After the Banjars had thus obtained possession of the archipelago, 
the trade in its products attracted settlers from the surrounding 
islands, who soon contrived to displace,, the aborigines, and drive 
them to the inaccessible mountains for protection. 

When the Chinese took possession of the northern parts of Borneo, 
under the Emperor Songtiping", about the year 1375, the daughter of 
that prince was married to a celebrated Arabian chief named Sherif 
Alii, who visited the shores of Borneo in quest of commerce. The 
descendants of this marriage extended their conquests not only over 
the Sooloo Archipelago, but over the whole of the Philippines, and 
rendered the former tributary to Borneo. In three reigns after this 
event, the sultan of Borneo proper married the daughter of a Sooloo 
chief, and from this union came Mirhome Bongsu, who succeeding 
to the throne while yet a minor, his uncle acted as regent. Sooloo 
now wished to throw off the yoke of Borneo, and through the in- 
trigues of the regent succeeded in doing so, as well as in retaining 

sooloo. 371 

possession of the eastern side of Borneo, from Maludu Bay on the 
north to Tulusyan on the south, which has ever since been a part of 
the Sooloo territory. 

This event took place before Islamism became the prevailing reli- 
gion ; but which form of idolatry, the Sooloos pretend, is not now 
known. It is, however, believed the people on the coasts were 
Budhists, while those of the interior were Pagans. 

The first sultan of Sooloo was Kamaludin, and during his reign 
one Sayed Alii, a merchant, arrived at Sooloo from Mecca. He was 
a sherif, and soon converted one-half of the islanders to his own faith. 
He was elected sultan on the death of Kamaludin, and reigned seven 
years, in the course of which he became celebrated throughout the 
archipelago. Dying at Sooloo, a tomb was erected to him there, and 
the island came to be looked upon by the faithful as the Mecca of the 
East, and continued to be resorted to as a pilgrimage until the arrival 
of the Spaniards. 

Sayed Alii left a son called Batua, who succeeded him. The latter 
had two sons, named Sabudin and Nasarudin, who, on the death of 
their father, made war upon each other. Nasarudin, the youngest, 
being defeated, sought refuge on Tawi Tawi, where he established 
himself, and built a fort for his protection. The difficulties were 
finally compromised, and they agreed to reign together over Sooloo. 
Nasarudin had two sons, called Amir and Bantilan, of whom the 
former was named as successor to the two brothers, and on their 
deaths ascended the throne. During his reign another sherif arrived 
from Mecca, who succeeded in converting the remainder of the popu- 
lation to Islamism. Bantilan and his brother Amir finally quarrelled, 
and the latter was driven from Sooloo to seek refuge in the island of 
Basillan, where he became sultan. 

On the arrival of the Spaniards in 1566, a kind of desultory war 
was waged by them upon the various islands, in the hope of conquer- 
ing them and extending their religion. In these wars they suc- 
ceeded in gaining temporary possession of a part of- Sooloo, and de- 
stroyed the tomb of Sayed Alii. The Spaniards always looked upon 
the conversion of the Moslems to the true Catholic faith with great 
interest; but in the year 1646, the sultan of Magindanao succeeded 
in making peace, by the terms of which the Spaniards withdrew from 
Sooloo, and were to receive from the sultan three cargoes of rice 
annually as a tribute. 

In 160S, the small-pox made fearful ravages, and most of the inhabi- 

372 S O O L O O. 

tants fled from the scourge. Among these was the heir apparent, 
during whose absence the throne became vacant, and another was 
elected in his stead. This produced contention for a short time, 
which ended in the elected maintaining his place. 

This tribute continued to be paid until the flight of Amir to 
Basillan, about the year 1752, where he entered into a secret corre- 
spondence with the authorities at Samboangan, and after two years a 
vessel was sent from Manilla, which carried him to that capital, 
where he was treated as a prisoner of state. 

In June, 1759, an English ship, on board of which was Dalrymple, 
then in the service of the East India Company, arrived at Sooloo on 
a trading voyage. Dalrymple remained at Sooloo for three months, 
engaged in making sales and purchases. The Sultan Bantilan 
treated him with great kindness, and sought the interest of Dal- 
rymple to obtain the liberation of his brother, who was now held 
prisoner by the Spaniards at Manilla, by telling him of the distress 
of his brother's wife, who had been left behind when Amir cpiitted 
the island, and had been delivered of twins, after he had been kid- 
napped by the Spaniards. Dalrymple entered into a pledge to restore 
Amir, and at the same time effected a commercial treaty between the 
East India Company and the Sooloo chiefs. By this it was stipu- 
lated that an annual cargo should be sent to Sooloo, and sold at one 
hundred per cent, profit, for which a return cargo should be provided 
for the China market, which should realize an equal profit there, after 
deducting all expenses. The overplus, if any, was to be carried to 
the credit of the Sooloos. This appears to have been the first attempt 
made by the English to secure a regular commercial intercourse with 
this archipelago. 

In the year 1760, a large fleet of Spanish vessels sailed from 
Manilla, with about two thousand men, having the Sultan Amir on 
board, to carry on a war against Sooloo. 

On their arrival, they began active operations. They were repelled 
on all sides, and after seven days' ineffectual attempts, they gave up 
their design. They returned to Manilla, it is said, with a loss of half 
their number, and without having done any injury to the Sooloos. 
Not discouraged with this failure, the Spaniards, about two years 
after, organized a still larger force, which is estimated by some 
accounts as high as ten thousand men. Although this failed in its 
attempts on the fort at Soung, the Spaniards obtained possession of 
Tanjong Matonda, one of the small ports on the island, where they 

S O O L O O. 373 

erected a church and fort. Here they established a colony, and 
appointed a governor. The inhabitants upon this deserted their 
habitations in the neighbourhood, and fled to the mountains, which, 
it is said, excited the mountaineers, a host of whom, with their chief, 
whose name was Sri Kala, determined to rush upon the Spaniards, 
and annihilate them. Having to contend against disciplined troops, 
it was not an easy task to succeed. But Sri Kala had a follower, 
named Sigalo, who offered to lead the host to battle against the 
Spaniards, and to exterminate them, or die in the attempt. The 
chief accepted his offer, and Sigalo, with a chosen few, marched 
towards the fort, leaving the rest of the mountaineers in readi- 
ness to join them at an appointed signal, and rush into the fort 
en masse. 

Sri Kala and Sigalo, in order to lull the watchfulness of the Spa- 
niards, took with them a young woman, of exquisite beauty, named 
Purmassuri. The lustful Spaniards were thus thrown off their 
guard, the signal was given, and the host, rushing forward, entered 
the fort, every Spaniard within which was slain. A few only, who 
were on the outside, escaped to the vessels, which set sail, and after 
encountering various mishaps, returned to Manilla. 

Some time after this the Sultan Bantilan died, and his son Alim-ud- 
deen was proclaimed sultan. Dalrymple did not return until 1762. 
with a part of the appointed cargo ; but the vessel in which the larger 
part had been shipped, failed to arrive, from not being able to find 
Sooloo, and went to China. Thence she proceeded to Manilla, and 
afterwards to Sooloo. The captain of the latter vessel gave a new 
credit to the Sooloos, before they had paid for their first cargo ; and on 
the arrival of Dalrymple the next time, he found that the small-pox 
had carried off a large number of the inhabitants, from which circum- 
stance all his hopes of profit were frustrated. He then obtained for 
the use of the East India Company, a grant of the island of Balam- 
bangan, which lies off the north end of Borneo, forming one side of 
the Straits of Balabac, the western entrance to the Sooloo Sea. Here 
he proposed to establish a trading port, and after having visited 
Madras, he took possession of this island in 1763. 

In October, 1763, the English took Manilla, where the Sultan 
Amir was found by Dalrymple, who engaged to reinstate him on his 
throne, if he would cede to the English the north end of Borneo, as 
well as the south end of Palawan. This he readily promised, and 
he was, in consequence, carried back to Sooloo and reinstated ; his 

vol. v. 94 

374 S O O L O O. 

nephew, Alim-ud-deen, readily giving place to him, and confirming 
the grant to the East India Company, in which the Ruma Bechara 

After various arrangements, the East India Company took posses- 
sion of Balamhangan, in the year 1773, and formed a settlement there 
with a view of making it an emporium of trade for Eastern commo- 
dities. Troops and stores were sent from India, and the population 
began to increase by settlers, both Chinese and Malays, who arrived 
in numbers. In the year 1775, the fort, notwithstanding all the 
treaties and engagements between Dalrymple and the Sultan, was 
surprised by the Sooloos, and many of the garrison put to death. 
This virtually put an end to the plans of the English, although 
another attempt was made to re-establish the settlement by Colonel 
Farquhar, in 1803 ; but it was thought to be too expensive a post, and 
was accordingly abandoned in the next year. This act of the Sooloos 
fairly established their character for perfidy, and ever since that 
transaction they have been looked upon as treacherous in the highest 
degree, and, what is singular, have been allowed to carry on their 
piracies quite unmolested. The taking of Balambangan has been 
generally imputed to the treacherous disposition and innate love of 
plunder among the Sooloos, as well as to their fear that it would 
destroy the trade of Sooloo by injuring all that of the archipelago. 
But there are strong reasons for believing that this dark deed owed 
its origin in part to the influence of the Spaniards and Dutch, who 
looked with much distrust upon the growth of the rival establish- 
ment. Such was the jealousy of the Spaniards, that the governor of 
the Philippines peremptorily required that Balambangan should be 
evacuated. The Sooloos boast of the deed, and admit that they re- 
ceived assistance from both Samboangan and Ternate, the two nearest 
Spanish and Dutch ports. These nations had great reasons to fear the 
establishment of a power like that of the East India Company, in a 
spot so favourably situated to secure the trade of the surrounding 
islands, possessing fine harbours, and in every way adapted to become 
a great commercial depot. Had it been held by the East India Com- 
pany but for a few years, it must have become what Singapore is now. 
The original planner of this settlement is said to have been Lord 
Pigot; but the merit of carrying it forward was undoubtedly due to 
Dalrymple, whose enterprising mind saw the advantage of the situa- 
tion, and whose energy was capable of carrying the project success- 
fully forward. 

SO O LOO. 375 

Since the capture of Balambangan, there has been no event in the 
history of Sooloo that has made any of the reigns of the sultans 
memorable, although fifteen have since ascended the throne. 

Sooloo has from all the accounts very much changed in its charac- 
ter as well as population since the arrival of the Spaniards, and the 
establishment of their authority in the Philippines. Before that 
event, some accounts state that the trade with the Chinese was of 
great extent, and that from four to five hundred junks arrived annu- 
ally from Cambojia, with which Sooloo principally traded. At that 
time the population is said to have equalled in density that of the 
thickly-settled parts of China. 

The government has also undergone a change ; for the sultan, who 
among other Malay races is usually despotic, is here a mere cipher, 
and the government has become an oligarchy. This change has 
probably been brought about by the increase of the privileged class 
of datus, all of whom were entitled to a seat in the Ruma Bechara 
until about the year 1810, when the great inconvenience of so large a 
council was felt, and it became impossible to control it without great 
difficulty and trouble on the part of the sultan. The Ruma Bechara 
was then reduced until it contained but six of the principal datus, 
who assumed the power of controlling the state. The Ruma Bechara, 
however, in consequence of the complaints of many powerful datus, 
was enlarged ; but the more powerful, and those who have the largest 
numerical force of slaves, still rule over its deliberations. The whole 
power, within the last thirty years, has been usurped by one or two 
datus, who now have monopolized the little foreign trade that comes 
to these islands. The sultan has the right to appoint his successor, 
and generally names him while living. In default of this, the choice 
devolves upon the Ruma Bechara, who elect by a majority. 

From a more frequent intercourse with Europeans and the dis- 
covery of new routes through these seas, the opportunities of com- 
mitting depredations have become less frequent, and the fear of 
detection greater. By this latter motive they are more swayed than 
by any thing else, and if the Sooloos have ever been bold and daring 
robbers on the high seas, they have very much changed. 

Many statements have been made and published relative to the 
piracies committed in these seas, which in some cases exceed, and in 
others fall short, of the reality. Most of the piratical establishments 
are under the rule, or sail under the auspices of the Sultan and Ruma 
Bechara of Sooloo, who are more or less intimately connected with 

376 S O O L O O. 

them. The share of the booty that belongs to the Sultan and Ruma 
Bechara, is twenty-five per cent, on all captures, whilst the datus 
receive a high price for the advance they make of guns and powder, 
and for the services of their slaves. 

The following are the piratical establishments of Sooloo, obtained 
from the most authentic sources, published as well as verbal. The 
first among these is the port of Soung, at which we anchored, in the 
island of Sooloo; not so much from the number of men available 
here for this pursuit, as the facility of disposing of the goods. By the 
Spaniards they are denominated Illanun or Lanuns pirates.* There 
are other rendezvous on Pulo Toolyan, at Bohol, Tonho, Pilas, Tawi 
Tawi, Sumlout, Pantutaran, Parodasan, Palawan, and Basillan, and 
Tantoli on Celebes. These are the most noted, but there are many 
minor places, where half a dozen prahus are fitted out. Those of 
Sooloo, and those who go under the name of the Lanuns, have prahus 
of larger size, and better fitted. They are from twenty to thirty tons 
burden, and are propelled by both sails and oars. They draw but 
little water, are fast sailers, and well adapted for navigating through 
these dangerous seas. These pirates are supposed to possess in the 
whole about two hundred prahus, which usually are manned with 
from forty to fifty pirates; the number therefore engaged in this 
business, may be estimated at ten thousand. They are armed with 
muskets, blunderbusses, krises, hatchets, and spears, and at times the 
vessels have one or two large guns mounted. They infest the Straits 
of Macassar, the Sea of Celebes, and the Sooloo Sea. Soung is the 
only place where they can dispose of their plunder to advantage, 
and obtain the necessary outfits. It may be called the principal 
resort of these pirates, where well-directed measures would result in 
effectually suppressing the crime. 

Besides the pirates of Sooloo, the commerce of the eastern islands 
is vexed with other piratical establishments. In the neighbouring 
seas, there are the Malay pirates, who have of late years become 
exceedingly troublesome. Their prahus are of much smaller size 
than those of Sooloo, being from ten to twelve tons burden, but in 
proportion they are much better manned, and thus are enabled to ply 
with more efficiency their oars or paddles. These prahus frequent 
the shores of the Straits of Malacca, Cape Romania, the Carimon Isles, 
and the neighbouring straits, and at times they visit the Straits of 

* This name is derived from the large bay that makes in on the south side of the 
island of Mindanao, and on which a set of freebooters reside. 

S O O L O O. 377 

Rhio. Some of the most noted, I was informed, were fitted out from 
Johore, in the very neighbourhood of the English authorities at Singa- 
pore ; they generally have their haunts on the small islands on the 
coast, from which they make short cruises. 

They are noted for their arrangements for preventing themselves 
from receiving injury, in the desperate defences that are sometimes 
made against them. These small prahus have usually swivels 
mounted, which, although not of great calibre, are capable of throw- 
ing a shot beyond the range of small-arms. It is said that they 
seldom attempt an attack unless the sea is calm, which enables them 
to approach their victims with more assurance of success, on account 
of the facility with which they are enabled to manage their boats. 
The frequent calms which occur in these seas between the land and 
sea breezes, afford them many opportunities of putting their villanous 
plans in operation ; and the many inlets and islets, with which they 
are well acquainted, afford places of refuge and ambush, and for con- 
cealing their booty. They are generally found in small flotillas of 
from six to twenty prahus, and when they have succeeded in disabling 
a vessel at long shot, the sound of the gong is the signal for boarding, 
which if successful, results in a massacre more or less bloody, accord- 
ing to the obstinacy of the resistance they have met with. 

In the winter months, the Straits of Malacca are most infested 
with them ; and during the summer, the neighbourhood of Singapore, 
Point Romania, and the channels in the vicinity. In the spring, 
from February to May, they are engaged in procuring their supplies, 
in fishing, and refitting their prahus for the coming year. 

I have frequently heard plans proposed for the suppression of these 
pirates, particularly of those in the neighbourhood of the settlements 
under British rule. The European authorities are much to blame for 
the quiescent manner in which they have so long borne these depre- 
dations, and many complaints are made that Englishmen, on being- 
transplanted to India, lose that feeling of horror for deeds of blood, 
such as are constantly occurring at their very doors, which they 
would experience in England. There are, however, many diffi- 
culties to overcome before operations against the pirates can be 
effective. The greatest of these is the desire of the English to 
secure the good-will of the chiefs of the tribes by whom they are 
surrounded. They thus wink at their piracies on the vessels of other 
nations, or take no steps to alleviate the evils of slavery. Indeed 

vol. v. 95 

378 SO O LOO. 

the language that one hears from many intelligent men who have 
long resided in that part of the world is, that in no country where 
civilization exists does slavery exhihit so debasing a form as in her 
Indian possessions. Another difficulty consists in the want of minute 
knowledge of the coasts, inlets, and hiding-places of the pirates, 
and this must continue to exist until proper surveys are made. This 
done, it would be necessary to employ vessels that could pursue the 
pirates every where, for which purpose steamers naturally suggest 

What will appear most extraordinary is, that the very princes who 
are enjoying the stipend for the purchase of the site whereon the 
English authority is established, are believed to be the most active in 
equipping the prahus for these piratical expeditions ; yet no notice is 
taken of them, although it would be so easy to control them by with- 
holding payment until they had cleared themselves from suspicion, 
or by establishing residents in their chief towns. 

Another, and a very different race of natives who frequent the 
Sooloo Archipelago, must not be passed by without notice. These 
are the Bajow divers or fishermen, to whom Sooloo is indebted for 
procuring the submarine treasures with which her seas are stored. 
They are also very frequently employed in the biche de mar or 
tripang fisheries among the islands to the south. The Bajows gene- 
rally look upon Macassar as their principal place of resort. They 
w-ere at one time believed to be derived from Johore, on the Malayan 
peninsula ; at another, to be Buguese ; but they speak the Sooloo 
dialect, and are certainly derived from some of the neighbouring 
islands. The name of Bajows, in their tongue, means fishermen. 
From all accounts, they are allowed to pursue their avocations in 
peace, and are not unfrequently employed by the piratical datus, 
and made to labour for them. They resort to their fishing-grounds 
in fleets of between one and two hundred sail, having their wives and 
children with them, and in consequence of the tyranny of the Sooloos, 
endeavour to place themselves under the protection of the flag of 
Holland, by which nation this useful class of people is encouraged. 
The Sooloo seas are comparatively little frequented by them, as they 
are unable to dispose of the produce of their fisheries for want of 
a market, and fear the exactions of the datus. Their prahus are 
about five tons each. The Bajows at some islands are stationary, but 
are for the most part constantly changing their ground. The Spa- 

SOOLOO. 379 

nish authorities in the Philippines encourage them, it is said, to 
frequent their islands, as without them they would derive little 
benefit from the banks in the neighbouring seas, where quantities of 
pearl-oysters are known to exist, which produce pearls of the finest 
kind. The Bajows are inoffensive and very industrious, and in faith 

The climate of Sooloo during our short stay, though warm, was 
agreeable. The time of our visit was in the dry season, which lasts 
from October till April, and alternates with the wet one from May till 
September. June and July are the windy months, when strong 
breezes blow from the westward. In the latter part of August aud 
September, strong gales are felt from the south, while in December 
and January the winds are found to come from the northward ; but 
light winds usually prevail from the southwest during the wet 
season, and from the opposite quarter, the dry, following closely the 
order of the monsoons in the China seas. As to the temperature, the 
climate is very equable, the thermometer seldom rising above 90° or 
falling below 70°. 

Diseases are few, and those that prevail arise from the manner in 
which the natives live. They are from that cause an unhealthy- 
looking race. The small-pox has at various times raged with great 
violence throughout the group, and they speak of it with great dread. 
Few of the natives appeared to be marked with it, which may have 
been owing, perhaps, to their escaping this disorder for some years. 
Vaccination has not yet been introduced among them, nor have they 
practised inoculation. 

Notwithstanding Soung was once the Mecca of the East, its people 
have but little zeal for the Mahomedan faith. It was thought at one 
time that they had almost forgotten its tenets, in consequence of the 
neglect of all their religious observances. The precepts which they 
seem to regard most are that of abstaining from swine's flesh, and 
that of being circumcised. Although polygamy is not interdicted, 
few even of the datus have more than one wife. 

Soung Road offers good anchorage ; and supplies of all kinds may 
be had in abundance. Beef is cheap, and vegetables and fruits at 
all seasons plenty. 

Our observations placed the town in latitude 6° 01' N., longitude 
120° 55' 51" E. 

On the 6th, having concluded the treaty (a copy of which will be 
found in Appendix XIII.) and the other business that had taken me 


to Sooloo, we took our departure for the Straits of Balabac, the 
western entrance into this sea, with a fine breeze to the eastward. 
By noon we had reached the group of Pangootaaraang, consisting of 
five small islands. All of these are low, covered with trees, and 
without lagoons. They presented a great contrast to Sooloo. which 
was seen behind us in the distance. The absence of the swell of the 
ocean in sailing through this sea is striking, and gives the idea of 
navigating an extensive bay, on whose luxuriant islands no surf 
breaks. There are, however, sources of danger that incite the navi- 
gator to watchfulness and constant anxiety; the hidden shoals and 
reefs, and the sweep of the tide, which leave him no control over his 

Through the night, which was exceedingly dark, we sounded every 
twenty minutes, but found no bottom ; and at daylight on the 7th, 
we made the islands of Cagayan Sooloo, in latitude 7° 03' 30" N., 
longitude 118° 37' E. The tide or current was passing the islands 
to the west-southwest, three-quarters of a mile per hour ; we had 
soundings of seventy-five fathoms. Cagayan Sooloo has a pleasant 
appearance from the sea, and may be termed a high island. It is 
less covered with undergrowth and mangrove-bushes than the neigh- 
bouring islands, and the reefs are comparatively small. It has fallen 
off in importance, and by comparing former accounts with those I 
received, and from its present aspect, it would seem that it has 
decreased both in population and products. Its caves formerly sup- 
plied a large quantity of edible birds'-nests ; large numbers of cattle 
were to be found upon it; and its cultivation was carried on to some 
extent. These articles of commerce are not so much attended to at 
the present time, and the biche de mar and tortoise-shell, formerly 
brought hither, are now carried to other places. There is a small 
anchorage on the west side, but we did not visit it. There are no 
dangers near these small islands that may not be guarded against. 
Our survey extended only to their size and situation, as I deemed it 
my duty to devote all the remainder of the time I had to spare to the 
Straits of Balabac. 

After the night set in, we continued sounding every ten minutes, 
and occasionally got bottom in from thirty to seventy fathoms. At 
midnight, the water shoaled to twenty fathoms, when I dropped the 
anchor until daylight. We shortly afterwards had a change of wind, 
and a heavy squall passed over us. 

In the morning we had no shoal ground near us, and the bank on 

S O O L O O. 331 

which we had anchored was found to be of small size ; it is probable 
that we had dropped the anchor on the shoalest place. Vessels have 
nothing to fear in this respect. 

At 9 a. m. of the 8th, we made the Mangsee Islands ahead of 
us, and likewise Balabac to the north, and Balambangan to the 
south. Several sand-banks and extensive reefs were also seen be- 
tween them. On seeing the ground on which we had to operate, 
of which the published charts give no idea whatever, I determined to 
proceed, and take a central position with the ship under the Mangsee 
Islands ; but in order not to lose time, I hoisted out and dropped two 
boats, under Lieutenant Perry, to survey the first sand-bank we came 
to, which lies a few miles to the eastward of these islands, with orders 
to effect this duty and join me at the anchorage, or find a shelter under 
the lee of the islands 

At half-past 2 p. m. we anchored near the reef, in thirty-six 
fathoms water. I thought myself fortunate in getting bottom, as 
the reefs on closing with them seemed to indicate but little appear- 
ance of it. 

The rest of the day was spent in preparing the boats for our ope- 
rations. I now felt the want of the tender. Although in the absence 
of this vessel, great exposure was necessary to effect this survey, I 
found both officers and men cheerful and willing. The parties were 
organized, — the first to proceed to the north, towards Balabac Island, 
to survey the intermediate shoals and reefs, under Lieutenant Em- 
mons and Mr. Totten ; the second to the south, tinder Lieutenants 
Perry and Budd; and Mr. Hammersly for the survey of the shoals of 
Balambangan and Banguey, and their reefs. The examination of 
the Mangsee Islands, and the reefs adjacent, with the astronomical 
and magnetic observations, &c, devolved on myself and those who 
remained on board the ship. 

The weather was watched with anxiety, and turned out disagree- 
able, heavy showers and strong winds prevailing; notwithstanding, 
the boats were despatched, after being as well protected against it as 
possible. We flattered ourselves that these extensive reefs would 
produce a fine harvest of shells ; but, although every exertion was 
made in the search, we did not add as many to our collections as 
we anticipated. Some land-shells, however, were found that we 
little expected to meet with, for many of the trees were covered 
with them, and on cutting them down, large quantities were easily 
obtained. Mr. Peale shot several birds, among which was a Nico- 

vol. v. 96 

382 s o o l o o. 

bar pigeon; some interesting plants and corals were also added. On 
the island a large quantity of drift-wood was found, which with that 
which is growing affords ample supplies of fuel for ships. No fresh 
water is to be had, except by digging, the island being but a few feet 
above high-water mark. 

Although the time was somewhat unfavourable, Lieutenant Em- 
mons and party executed their orders within the time designated, and 
met with no other obstructions than the inclemency of the weather. 
This was not, however, the case with Lieutenant Perry, who, near 
a small beach on the island of Balambangan, encountered some 
Sooloos, who were disposed to attack him. The natives, no doubt, 
were under the impression that the boats were from some ship- 
wrecked vessel. They were all well armed, and apparently prepared 
to take advantage of the party if possible ; but, by the prudence and 
forbearance of this officer, collision was avoided, and his party saved 
from an attack. 

The island of Balambangan was, through the instrumentality of 
Mr. Dalrymple, as heretofore stated, obtained from the Sooloos for a 
settlement and place of deposit, by the East India Company, who 
took possession of it in 1773. Its situation off the northern end of 
Borneo, near the fertile district of that island, its central position, and 
its two fine ports, offered great advantages for commerce, and for 
its becoming a great entrepot for the riches of this archipelago. 
Troops, and stores of all kinds, were sent from India; numbers of 
Chinese and Malays were induced to settle ; and Mr. Herbert, one of 
the council of Bencoolen, was appointed governor. It had been sup- 
posed to be a healthy place, as the island was elevated, and therefore 
probably free from malaria; but in 1775 the native troops from India 
became much reduced from sickness, and the post consequently much 
weakened. This, with the absence of the cruisers from the harbour, 
afforded a favourable opportunity" for its capture ; and the wealth that 
it was supposed to contain created an inducement that proved too 
great for the hordes of marauding pirates to resist. Choosing their 
time, they rushed upon the sentries, put them to death, took possession 
of the guns, and turned them against the garrison, only a few of whom 
made their escape on board of a small vessel. The booty in goods and 
valuables was said to have been very large, amounting to nearly four 
hundred thousand pounds sterling. 

Although Borneo offers many inducements to commercial enter- 
prise, the policy of the Dutch Company has shut themselves out, as 

S O L O O. 3S3 

well as others, by interdicting communication. In consequence, 
except through indirect channels, there has been no information 
obtained of the singular and unknown inhabitants of its interior. 
This, however, is not long destined to be the case. 

Mr. Brooke, an English gentleman of fortune, has, since our pas- 
sage through these seas, from philanthropic motives, made an agree- 
ment with the rajah of Sarawack, on the northern and western side 
of Borneo, to cede to him the administration of that portion of the 
island. This arrangement it is believed the British government will 
confirm, in which event Sarawack will at once obtain an importance 
among the foreign colonies, in the Eastern seas, second only to that of 

The principal inducement that has influenced Mr. Brooke in this 
undertaking is the interest he feels in the benighted people of the 
interior, who are known under the name of Dyack, and of whom 
some extraordinary accounts have been given. 

A few of these, which I have procured from reputable sources, I 
will now relate, in order that it may be seen among what kind of 
people this gentleman has undertaken to introduce the arts of civili- 

The Dyacks are, by all accounts, a fine race, and much the most 
numerous of any inhabiting Borneo. They are almost exclusively 
confined to the interior, where they enjoy a fine climate, and all the 
spontaneous productions of the tropics. They are believed to be the 
aborigines of the island. The name of Dyack seems to be more 
particularly applied to those who live in the southern section of 
Borneo. To the north they are called Idaan or Tirun, and those so 
termed are best known to the Sooloos, or the inhabitants of that part 
of the coast of Borneo over which the Sooloos rule. In personal 
appearance, the Dyacks are slender, have higher foreheads than the 
Malays, and are a finer and much better-looking people. Their hair 
is long, straight, and coarse, though it is generally cropped short 
round the head. The females are spoken of as being fair and hand- 
some, and many of those who have been made slaves are to be seen 
among the Malays. 

In manners the Dyacks are described as simple and mild, yet they 
are characterized by some of the most uncommon and revolting 
customs of barbarians. Their government is very simple ; the elders 
in each village for the most part rule; but they are said to have 
chiefs that do not differ from the Malay rajahs. They wear no 


clothing except the maro, and many of them are tattooed, with a 
variety of figures, over their body. They live in houses built of 
wood, that are generally of large size, and frequently contain as 
many as one hundred persons. These houses are usually built on 
piles, divided into compartments, and have a kind of veranda in 
front, which serves as a communication between the several families. 
The patriarch, or elder, resides in the middle. The houses are 
entered by ladders, and have doors, but no windows. The villages 
are protected by a sort of breastwork. 

Although this people are to be found throughout all Borneo, and 
even within a few miles of the coast, yet they do not occupy any part 
of its shores, which are held by Malays, or Chinese settlers. There 
is no country more likely to interest the world than Borneo. All 
accounts speak of vast ruins of temples and palaces, throughout the 
whole extent of its interior, which the ancestors of the present inha- 
bitants could not have constructed. The great resemblance these 
bear to those of China and Cambojia has led to the belief that 
Borneo was formerly peopled by those nations ; but all traditions of 
the origin of these edifices have been lost; and so little is now known 
of the northern side of Borneo, that it would be presumption to 
indulge in any surmises of what may have been its state during these 
dark ages. Even the Bugis priests, who are the best-informed persons 
in the country, have no writings or traditions that bear upon the 
subject; and the few scattered legends of Eastern origin, can afford no 
proof of the occurrence of the events they commemorate in any parti- 
cular locality. 

The accounts of the habits of the Dyacks are discrepant. Some 
give them credit for being very industrious, while others again speak 
of them as indolent. They are certainly cultivators of the soil, and 
in order to obtain the articles they need, will work assiduously. 
Many of them are employed in collecting gold-dust, and some in the 
diamond mines; and they will at times be found procuring gums, 
rattans, &c, from their native forests for barter. They are a people 
of great energy of character, and perseverance in the attainment of 
their object, particularly when on war-parties, or engaged in hunting. 

Their food consists of rice, hogs, rats, snakes, monkeys, and many 
kinds of vermin, with which this country abounds. 

Their chief weapon is the parang or heavy knife, somewhat like 
the kris. It is manufactured of native iron and steel, with which the 
coast of the country is said to abound. They have a method of work- 

S O O L O O. 385 

ing it which renders it unnecessary for them to look to a foreign 
supply ; the only articles of foreign hardware that they are said to 
desire, are razors, out of which to make their cockspurs. One 
thing seems strange, although asserted upon good authority, that 
the iron and steel of the coast are thought to be superior by fo- 
reigners, they are not to be compared with that which is found in 
the interior, and manufactured by the Dyacks. All the best krises 
used by the Malay rajahs and chiefs, are obtained from the interior. 
Some of these are exquisitely manufactured, and so hard that, with- 
out turning the edge, they cut ordinary wrought iron and steel. 

Among their other weapons is the sumpit, a hollow tube, through 
which they blow poisoned arrows. The latter are of various kinds, 
and those used in war are dipped in the sap of what the natives term 
the "upo." The effect of this poison is almost instantaneous, and 
destroys life in four or five minutes. Those who have seen a wound 
given accidentally, describe the changes that the poison occasions as 
plainly perceptible in its progress. Before using the arrow, its poisoned 
point is dipped in lime-juice to quicken it. The range of the sumpit 
is from fifty to sixty yards. Although the arrows are poisoned, yet 
it is said they sometimes eat the game they kill with them, parboiling 
it before it is roasted, which is thought to extract the poison. Fire- 
arms, respecting which they have much fear, have not yet been intro- 
duced among them : indeed, it is said that so easily are they intimi- 
dated by such weapons, that on hearing a report of a gun they 
invariably run away. Each individual in a host would be impressed 
with the belief that he was the one that was to be shot. 

They address their prayers to the maker of the world, whom they 
call Dewatta, and this is all the religion they have. There are many 
animals and birds held by them in high veneration, and they are close 
observers of the flight of birds, from which they draw prognostics. 
There is in particular a white-headed eagle or kite, upon whose flight 
and cries they put great reliance, and consult them in war or on any 
particular expedition. For this purpose they draw numbers of them 
together, and feed them by scattering rice about. It is said their 
priests consult their entrails also on particular occasions, to endeavour 
to look into future events. 

In the performance of their engagements and oaths, they are most 
scrupulous. They seem to have some idea of a future life, and that 
on the road to their elysium they have to pass over a long tree, which 
requires the assistance of all those they have slain in this world. 

vol. v. 97 

3S6 S O O L O O. 

The abode of happy spirits is supposed to be on the top of Balie, one 
of their loftiest mountains, and the portals are guarded by a fiery 
serpent, who does not suffer any virgin to pass into the celestial 

Polygamy does not exist among them, but they have as concubines 
slaves, who are captured in their wars or rather predatory expeditions. 
If a wife proves unfaithful to her husband, he kills several of his 
slaves, or inflicts upon her many blows, and a divorce may be effected 
by the husband paying her a certain price, and giving up her clothes 
and ornaments, after which he is at liberty to marry another. The 
women, however, exercise an extraordinary influence over the men. 

But of all their peculiar traits, there is none more strange than the 
passion they seem to indulge for collecting human heads. These are 
necessary accompaniments in many transactions of their lives, par- 
ticularly in their marriages, and no one can marry unless he has a 
certain number of heads ; indeed, those who cannot obtain these are 
looked upon with disdain by the females. A young man wishing to 
wed, and making application to marry her for whom he has formed 
an attachment, repairs with the girl's father to the rajah or chief, who 
immediately inquires respecting the number of heads he has procured, 
and generally decides that he ought to obtain one or two more, ac- 
cording to his age, and the number the girl's father may have pro- 
cured, before he can be accepted. He at once takes his canoe and 
some trusty followers, and departs on his bloody errand, waylaying 
the unsuspecting or surprising the defenceless, whose head he imme- 
diately cuts off and then makes a hurried retreat. With this he 
repairs to the dwelling of his mistress, or sends intelligence of his 
success before him. On his arrival, he is met by a joyous group of 
females, who receive him with every demonstration of joy, and gladly 
accept his ghastly offering. 

Various barbarous ceremonies now take place, among which the 
heads undergo inspection to ascertain if they are fresh; and, in order 
to prove this, none of the brain must be removed, nor must they have 
been submitted to smoke to destroy the smell. After these prelimi- 
naries, the family honour of the bride is supposed to be satisfied, and 
she is not allowed to refuse to marry. A feast is now made, and the 
couple are seated in the midst naked, holding the bloody heads, when 
handfuls of rice are thrown over them, with prayers that they may 
be happy and fruitful. After this the bridegroom repairs in state to 
the house of the bride, where he is received at the door by one of her 

SOOLOO. 387 

friends, who sprinkles him with the blood of a cock, and her with 
that of a hen. This completes the affair, and they are man and wife. 

Funerals are likewise consecrated by similar offerings, the corpse 
remaining in the house until a slave can be procured, by purchase or 
otherwise, whom they design to behead at the time the body is burnt. 
This is done in order that the defunct may be attended by a slave 
on his way to the other world or realms of bliss. After being burnt, 
the ashes of the deceased are gathered in an urn, and the head of the 
slave preserved and placed near it. 

In some parts, a rajah or chief is buried with great pomp in his 
war habiliments, and food and his arms are placed at his side. A 
mound is erected over him, which is encircled with a bamboo fence, 
upon which a number of fresh heads are stuck, all the warriors who 
have been attached to him bringing them as the most acceptable 
offering; and subsequently these horrid offerings are renewed. 

The Dyacks are found also on the island of Celebes, but there, as 
in Borneo, they are confined to the interior. I have already men- 
tioned that they were supposed to have been the original inhabitants 
of the Sooloo Archipelago. The Sooloos speak of the country of the 
Dyacks as being exceedingly fertile and capable of producing every 
thing. The north end of Borneo is particularly valuable, as its pro- 
duce is easily transported from the interior, where much of the land 
is cultivated. I have obtained much more information in relation to 
this people, in a variety of ways, from individuals as well as from the 
published accounts, which are to be found at times in the Eastern 
prints ; but as this digression has already extended to a great length, I 
trust that enough has been said to enable the reader to contrast it with 
the natives who inhabit the islands that dot the vast Pacific Ocean, 
and to make him look forward with interest to the developements that 
the philanthropic exertions of Mr. Brooke may bring to light. 

Having completed our duties here, the boats were hoisted in, after 
despatching one to leave orders for Mr. Knox of the Flying-Fish, in 
a bottle tied to a flag-staff. 

On the afternoon of the 12th, we got under way to proceed direct 
to Singapore, and passed through the channel between the reef off 
the Mangsee Islands, and those of Balambangan and Banguey. We 
found this channel clear, and all the dangers well defined. 

As the principal objects of my visit were to ascertain the disposi- 
tion and resources of the Sooloos for trade, and to examine the straits 

3S8 S O O L o o. 

leading into the Sooloo seas, in order to facilitate the communication 
with China, by avoiding on the one hand the eastern route, and on 
the other the dangers of the Palawan Passage, it may be as well to 
give the result of the latter inquiry, referring those who may be more 
particularly interested to the Hydrographical Atlas and Memoir. 

The difficulties in the Palawan Passage arising from heavy seas 
and fresh gales do not exist in the Sooloo Sea, nor are the shoals so 
numerous or so dangerous. In the place of storms and rough water, 
smooth seas are found, and for most of the time moderate breezes, 
which do not subject a vessel to the wear and tear experienced, in 
beating up against a monsoon. 

The Straits of Balabac may be easily reached, either from Singa- 
pore, or by beating up along the western shore of Borneo. When 
the straits are reached, a vessel by choosing her time may easily pass 
through them by daylight, even by beating when the wind is ahead. 
Once through, the way is clear, with the exception of a few coral 
lumps; the occasional occurrence of the north wind will enable a 
vessel to pass directly to the shores of the island of Panay. A fair 
wind will ordinarily prevail along that island, and, as I have already 
mentioned, it may be approached closely. The passage through to 
the eastward of Mindoro Island may be taken in preference to that on 
the west side through the Mindoro Strait, and thus all the reefs and 
shoals will be avoided. Thence, the western coast of Luzon will be 
followed to the north, as in the old route. 

I do not think it necessary to point out any particular route through 
the Sooloo Sea, as vessels must be guided chiefly as the winds blow, 
but I would generally avoid approaching the Sooloo Islands, as the 
currents are more rapid, and set rather to the southward. Wherever 
there is anchorage, it would be advisable to anchor at night, as much 
time might thus be saved, and a knowledge of the currents or sets of 
the tides obtained. Perhaps it would be as well to caution those who 
are venturesome, that it is necessary to keep a good look-out, and 
those who are timid, that there does not appear to be much danger 
from the piratical prahus, unless a vessel gets on shore : in that case 
it will not be long before they will be seen collecting in the horizon in 
large numbers. 

The treaty that I made with the Sultan, if strictly enforced on the 
first infraction, will soon put an end to all the dangers to be appre- 
hended from them. To conclude, I am satisfied that under ordinary 

S O O L O O. 389 

circumstances, to pass through the Sooloo Sea will shorten by several 
days the passage to Manilla or Canton, and be a great saving of 
expense in the wear and tear of a ship and her canvass. 

On the 13th, we passed near the location of the Viper Shoal, but saw 
nothing of it. It is, therefore, marked doubtful on the chart. As I 
had but little time to spare, the look-outs were doubled, and we pur- 
sued our course throughout the night, sounding as we went every 
fifteen minutes; but nothing met our view. 

On the 14th, although we had the northeast monsoon blowing fresh, 
we experienced a current of twenty-two miles setting to the north. 
This was an unexpected result, as the currents are usually supposed 
to prevail in the direction of the monsoon. On the 15th, we still 
experienced it, though not over fifteen miles. On the 16th, we found 
it setting west, and as we approached the Malayan Peninsula it was 
found to be running southwest. 

On the 18th, we made Pulo Aor and Pulo Pedang, and arriving off 
the Straits of Singapore I hove-to, to await daylight. In the morn- 
ing at dawn, we found ourselves in close company with a Chinese 
junk. The 19th, until late in the afternoon, we were in the Singa- 
pore Straits, making but slow progress towards this emporium of the 
East. The number of native as well as foreign vessels which we 
passed, proved that we were approaching some great mart, and at 
5 p. m. we dropped our anchor in Singapore Roads. Here we found 
the Porpoise, Oregon, and Flying-Fish, all well : the two former 
had arrived on the 22d of January, nearly a month before, and the 
latter three days previously. Before concluding this chapter, I shall 
revert to their proceedings since our separation off the Sandwich 

The instructions to the brigs have been heretofore given ; but it 
may not be amiss to repeat here that the object in detaching them 
was, that they might explore the line of reefs and islands known to 
exist to the northward and westward of the Hawaiian Group, and 
thence continue their course towards the coast of Japan. Had they 
effected the latter object, it would have given important results in 
relation to the force of the currents, and the temperature of the water. 
It was desirable, if possible, to ascertain with certainty the existence 
on the coast of Japan of a current similar to the Gulf Stream, to 
which my attention had been particularly drawn. 

The first land they made was on the 1st of December, 1841, and was 
Necker Island. Birds, especially the white tern, had been seen in 

vol. v. 98 

390 S O O L O O. 

numbers prior to its announcement. Necker Island is apparently a 
mass of volcanic rocks, about three hundred feet high, and is destitute 
of any kind of vegetation, but covered with guano. It is surrounded 
by a reef, three miles from which soundings were obtained, in twenty 
fathoms water. The furious surf that was beating on all sides of the 
island, precluded all possibility of a landing being made. By the 
connected observations of the vessels it lies in longitude 164° 37' 00" 
W., and latitude 23° 44' N. 

The French-Frigate Shoal was seen on the 3d ; the weather proved 
bad, and they were unable to execute the work of examining this 
reef. The sea was breaking furiously upon it. 

On the 7th, the Maro Reef was made in latitude 25° 24' 29" N., 
longitude 170° 43' 24" W. Bottom w T as found at a distance of four 
miles from the reef, with forty-five fathoms of line. On the 8th, they 
passed over the site of Neva Isle, as laid down by Arrowsmith, but 
no indications of land were seen. 

On the 11th, Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold determined, on 
account of the condition of the brigs, and the continuance of bad 
weather, it was impossible to keep their course to the northward and 
westward towards the coast of Japan : he therefore hauled to the 
southward, which was much to be regretted, and followed so very 
nearly in the same track as that pursued by the Vincennes, towards 
the China seas, that nothing new was elicited by them. 

After a passage of fifty-six days from the Sandwich Islands, they 
dropped their anchors in Singapore on the 19th of January, 1842, all 
well. Here they found the United States ship Constellation, Com- 
mander Kearney, and the sloop of war Boston, Captain Long, forming 
the East India squadron. 








On drawing near to Singapore, as has already been remarked, it 
became evident that we were approaching a great mart of Eastern 
commerce. If this be apparent when merely approaching that place, 
the impression becomes far more striking on anchoring in the road- 
stead, for there we found a collection of shipping, of various sizes, 
from the tiny cockboat to the stately and well-formed Indiaman. 

The shipping are contrasted not only in size, but in rig and form, 
from the vast hulk-like junk to the light and skipping sampan;* 
and many of them were of kinds entirely new to us. Not only were 
a great part of the vessels of a novel description, but their national 
flags were equally strange. Many of the latter were now seen by us 
for the first time, and were displayed in various ways ; some flew at 
each masthead, others floated from horizontal yards, while the more 
civilized nations were distinguished by ensigns pendent from the peak. 

The variety in the style of paint and ornament was equally great. 
The Chinese junks exhibited their arched sides painted in curved 
streaks of red, yellow, and white; the Siamese ships, half European 
in structure and model, showed huge carved sterns ; and these were 
contrasted with the long, low, and dark hulls of the prahus and the 
opium-smuggler. The two latter classes perhaps excited the greatest 
attention, in consequence of the war they are continually carrying on 
against the property and lives, as well as the morals and laws, of the 
natives of the surrounding countries. 

* The sampan is a light and easy-pulling boat, used at Singapore to carry passengers 
to and from the shipping in the roads. 

vol. v. 99 


It is difficult to estimate the average number of vessels that are to 
be seen in the roads of Singapore ; for on some days they appear 
crowded, while on others they are comparatively empty. While 
many vessels are continually arriving and departing, the Chinese 
junks alone appear as fixtures; more than fifty of them were counted, 
with sails unbent, yards housed, and rudders unhung, in which state 
they resemble floating shops, wherein are offered for sale assortments 
of every article produced or manufactured in the Celestial Empire; 
samples of which, by way of sign, are to be seen hanging about them 
in all directions. These junks make no more than one voyage a 
year, performing their passage in either direction during the favour- 
ing monsoon. 

Unlike other ports, the water presents at first so many objects to 
attract the attention, that the land and town remain unnoticed until 
the curiosity in relation to those which are afloat is satisfied. On turn- 
ing to view the town, its situation appears to be low, as well as that of 
the island on which it is built. The highest point of the latter is not 
more than five hundred feet above the level of the sea, and even this 
elevation is distant, so that there is nothing to render the scenery pic- 
turesque, nor has it much of the character that is styled Oriental. The 
distant jungle, however, relieved by the white portions of buildings 
in the European style, furnishes a landscape pleasing to the eye. 
These buildings seem to be upon the' very beach, while a hill in the 
rear is crowned by the dwelling of the governor, near which is the 
flag-staff. The intervening space is filled with buildings, whose 
style holds an intermediate place between that of Europe, and that 
of the Chinese and Malays, neither of which predominates so much 
as to give its distinctive character to the scene. 

The stranger, after anchoring in the roads, is not long before he 
discovers the point at which the river discharges itself; for one 
continued stream of boats, sampans, and prahus, is seen tending to 
a point in the beach, where the entrance is partly concealed from 
view ; neither can he be long ignorant how large a concourse of 
various races is here assembled. Our ship was crowded from an 
early hour, with tailors, shoemakers, washerwomen, and venders of 
curiosities. The latter brought shells, birds of paradise, monkeys, 
parrots, corals, and mats. Without board there were innumerable 
bumboats, bringing for sale fresh bread, eggs, milk, chickens and 
ducks, both alive and cooked, fish, fruit, and vegetables. All sued 
piteously for permission to come alongside, and made a prodigious 


clatter. The features, dress, and language of the venders were as 
various as the articles they had to sell ; and they agreed only in the 
common character of a dark skin. The specimen thus presented of 
the population of Singapore prepared us for the sight of the motley 
group we were to meet on shore. 

At Singapore I had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance 
with Mr. Balestier, our worthy consul. To him, his lady, and his 
son, we are under many obligations for their kind treatment and 
attention. Mr. Balestier is so well known among men of science in 
the United States, it would be needless for me to say that from him 
I derived much interesting information relative to the place, its com- 
merce, &c, for which I here offer my acknowledgments. He was 
extensively engaged in the cultivation of sugar, on a plantation of 
one thousand acres, within two miles of Singapore, nearly half of 
which was under cultivation. This extent of ground he has by his 
exertions reclaimed from the jungle, and it bids fair to repay the 
labour and expense he has incurred in clearing and bringing it into 
cultivation. He is the first person who has attempted the cultivation 
of sugar at Singapore, and for his success he was awarded the gold 
medal of the Calcutta Agricultural Society. 

As we passed through the vessels with which the roads were 
crowded on our way to the shore, the hum of voices was plainly 
audible, particularly from the Chinese junks, which seemed not un- 
like a human hive. On reaching the mouth of the river, as was to 
be expected, the crowd thickened, and the way became more and 
more obstructed, until we were fairly jammed among the sampans, 
with their crowded population. The river does not exceed two 
hundred and fifty feet in width. It is shallow at its mouth, and 
passes through the centre, or rather divides the old from the new 
town ; these are connected by a wooden bridge. As far up as the 
bridge, which is about one-third of a mile from the entrance, the river 
is of various widths, and its banks have been carefully built up with 
stone, having steps occasionally for the convenience of landing from 
the boats. A large population is on the river, dwelling in the sam- 
pans, which are all crowded with men, women, and children, the 
latter naked, and frolicking in and out of the water at pleasure. 
These boats are ranged in rows on each side of the passage towards 
the bridge, and are confined by stakes stuck in the bottom. As may 
be well imagined, there are frequent accidents and misadventures, 
that call for the exercise of the lungs of this crowded multitude, yet 


during the many opportunities I had of viewing them, both by day 
and night, I have seldom seen a set of people apparently so contented. 

We landed at the bridge, near which is the office of our consul, in 
a large quadrangular building, one side of which faces the river. 
The terms of old and new town promise a difference of architecture 
as well as inhabitants, which they amply fulfil. The former occu- 
pies the southwest or left-hand side of the river, and exhibits along 
the quay a fine row of stuccoed or chunamed warehouses. The 
lower story of the greater part of these is an arcade supported by 
pillars at short distances. They are only two stories high, devoid of 
architectural ornament, but are convenient buildings for the trade. 
On the right are to be seen the buildings appropriated to the govern- 
ment offices. These are situated on an extensive parade-ground, 
studded with a few fine trees. The houses having extensive porticoes, 
and being adorned with flowers in large vases, have rather an elegant 
appearance, but this is in part dissipated on a nearer approach. They 
are usually enclosed with low walls, surmounted by iron railings, 
within which are small flower-gardens, that do not, however, display 
much taste. 

The bridge which connects the two towns is by far the most 
attractive place in Singapore, for the constant passing and repassing 
across this thoroughfare makes it particularly amusing to a stranger. 
The consul's rooms were so situated as to command a free view of 
this moving panorama. The number of Asiatic nations that frequent 
Singapore is said to be twenty-four, consisting of Chinese, Hindoos, 
Malays, Jews, Armenians, Parsees, Bugists, besides Europeans. The 
variety of costume exhibited may therefore be easily imagined, and 
afforded opportunities for inquiry as well as amusement. The bridge 
was particularly thronged during the first day of our visit, for it was 
a holiday, both with the Chinese -and the Mahomedans of Hindostan. 

The trades, as is usual in the East, are carried on in the streets, 
and carpenters, blacksmiths, tinners, butchers, bakers, tailors, barbers, 
crockery and opium sellers, and coffin-makers, are to be met in suc- 
cession. Money-changers are to be found here and there, and large 
well-supplied shops are not wanting, although their narrow and con- 
tracted fronts give no reason to anticipate their existence. That of 
Whampoa, our comprador, was one of the largest, and it gave a better 
idea of Noah's ark than of any thing else, presenting a mixture of 
living animals, with every thing that is required for the artificial 
wants of the shipping. In front were all the varieties of ship stores 


that China and Europe could furnish ; and in the rear were poultry, 
pigs, sheep, and pigeons, in pens and cages, with various parrots, 
cockatoos, and monkeys, while quantities of geese and ducks were 
accommodated beneath with pools of water. Between the live-stock 
and the groceries were large quantities of vegetables and fruit, be- 
sides lots of bread, flour, and dough ready for the oven. The noise 
occasioned by the cackling, bellowing, crowing, and bleating, with 
the accumulation of filth, surprised as well as disgusted; for although 
it was reached at every tide by the water, yet there was ample neces- 
sity for the use of brooms and shovels. The Chinese, though cleanly 
in their persons, are far from being so in their general habits, if we 
may judge from those that I have met in the places we have visited. 

On landing, that which impresses a stranger most strongly, is the 
great variety both of costume and of race. Almost every person 
that is encountered appears different from his predecessor, so that it 
is some time before it can be decided which nation predominates ; but 
on reaching the old town, this is no longer doubtful, for the Chinese 
are soon found to be the most numerous. 

The variety of religious sects also soon become evident. All have 
their places of worship, and enjoy the free exercise of their religion, 
so that in passing around, the mosque of the Mahomedan, the temple 
of the Chinese, and the churches of various Christian sects, are met 
with in their turn. 

The number of spoken languages is such as to recall the idea of 
Babel, and to excite a desire to learn the cause of such a collection of 
nations. This is partly to be found in the favourable commercial 
site of Singapore, on the great highway between the Eastern and 
Western nations, and in the protection afforded to all by its being 
under a European power, but chiefly in the fact of its being a free 
port, in every sense of the word. All are allowed to visit it without 
any question being asked ; pirates of any nation may refit here, and 
no doubt frequently do, without any molestation, so long as they keep 
the peace. 

I was much struck with the apparent absence of either police or 
military force ; but after some inquiry, I was satisfied, by the order 
and general quiet of the multitude, that there must be a control- 
ling power within reach, and found the policemen under the sem- 
blance of Persians, easily distinguishable by their neat and cleanly 
appearance. They are generally better dressed than the body of the 
inhabitants, and are to be known by their red and black sashes, and 

VOL. V. 100 


turbaned heads. Without the precincts of the town, a regiment of 
Sepoys, six hundred strong, and officered by Europeans, is stationed. 
These are to be seen habited like English soldiers, in close-bodied 
red coats, than which a more inappropriate dress in such a climate as 
this can scarcely be imagined. 

Before proceeding with the description of Singapore, it will be as 
well to give some account of its settlement, and progress to its pre- 
sent prosperous condition. 

It appears that the idea of occupying a position in the Straits of 
Malacca did not occur to the East India Company until they were 
about restoring the possession of Malacca to Holland in 1818. Major 
Farquhar, then resident at Malacca, in that year entered into a com- 
mercial treaty with Abdulrahman Shah, who had been acknowledged 
as sovereign of Johore by the Dutch. By this treaty, British subjects, 
or persons under the protection of the Company, had equal rights 
for commercial pursuits with the most favoured nation, in the ports 
of Johore, Lingin, and Rhio. 

The Dutch had no sooner got possession of Malacca, and received 
information of Major Farquhar's treaty, than they sent an overpower- 
ing force to Rhio, where Abdulrahman resided ; declared him their 
vassal, annulled the treaty made with the English residents, and 
dictated another with the sultan, by which British commerce was 
entirely excluded from the ports of the straits. 

In order to counteract this attempt upon the part of Holland to 
keep exclusive possession of the only passes into the Chinese seas, 
the Straits of Sunda and Malacca, the Marquis of Hastings, who was 
then Governor-General of India, despatched Sir Stamford Raffles to 
the Straits of Malacca, to ascertain if there were not a place at the 
Carimon Isles, or Singapore, of which the Dutch had not possession, 
suitable for the establishment of a factory, and in this duty Major 
Farquhar was associated with him. 

On the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles, he found that the Dutch had 
taken possession of Rhio, as before mentioned ; and it was then sug- 
gested by Captain Ross, the able surveyor in the Company's employ, 
that Singapore offered the most suitable location for their purpose. 
About this time, Sir Stamford Raffles, while off this place, was visited 
by the Tumungong of Johore, a chief hostile to the Dutch, and an 
enemy to Abdulrahman Shah. The Tumungong represented that the 
rightful heir was the elder brother, Hassain Mahomed Shah, and that 
the British by treating with him would derive a right to settle from 


the legitimate authority. Sir Stamford saw the force of this advice, 
and determined at once to treat for the occupation of the island of 
Singapore with Hassain Mahomed. As a preliminary to this, the 
recognition of Mahomed Shah as sultan, by two great officers of the 
empire, was necessary. The Bandahara of Pahang, and the Tumun- 
gong of Johore, were selected for this purpose, and when this prelimi- 
nary had been arranged, Hussain Shah was invited over from Rhio, 
installed, and recognised. The commissioners at once treated with 
him as the lawful sovereign of Johore, for the cession and immediate 
settlement of Singapore. This was one of the wise arrangements en- 
tered into by that intelligent officer, who so long and so satisfactorily 
ruled over Java. The treaty, from the hurry in which it was drawn 
up, was found to have circumscribed the limits of the ceded district 
to but a small portion of the south coast of the island, and the juris- 
diction to extend only as far as a cannon-shot into the interior imme- 
diately around the factory. This limit continued until 1824, when a 
cession of the entire island was obtained, and a treaty of alliance and 
friendship was concluded between the Company and the Sultan. The 
jurisdiction was also for ever ceded to the Company of the seas and 
islands within ten geographical miles of the coast of Singapore. In 
consideration of these concessions, the Company gave the Sultan 
thirty-three thousand dollars, with an annuity of fifteen thousand, 
and to the Tumungong twenty-six thousand dollars, and an annuity 
of eight thousand. The annuities were to be paid monthly; and it 
was farther agreed, that if the Sultan or the Tumungong desired to 
remove at any time from the island of Singapore to other parts of 
their dominions, they should be entitled to the further sum of ten and 
fifteen thousand dollars, for all their right and title to any immovable 
property they might possess. 

This treaty secured free commercial intercourse for both parties, 
with perfect neutrality in all respects, and freedom from offensive 
and defensive alliances. Under this tenure, Singapore is now held. 

Singapore, being the only free port in this part of the world, soon 
attracted to it all the surrounding nations, not only on account of 
the absence of duties, or of any regulations impeding trade, but as 
offering a mart where they could with ease dispose of their goods, 
and obtain supplies. Many of the most opulent merchants of the 
East have settled here, and the Chinese in particular have found it 
to afford a suitable field for the exercise of their trades. 

The jurisdiction of Singapore, or the " Straits Government," as it 
is here called, embraces Malacca and Prince of Wales Island. The 


office of governor was filled during our visit, by Samuel George 
Bonliam, Esq., whose usual residence is at Singapore, but I had not 
the pleasure of seeing him, as he was absent on a tour of duty. A 
steamer is attached to this service, and enables the governor to 
communicate freely with the three ports. At each port there is a 
recorder's court, for the trial of offences, and the settlement of com- 
mercial difficulties. A chief justice, who resides at Singapore, is 
the principal law officer for criminal offences, and is appointed by the 
crown. Capital punishment is referred for approval to the authorities 
at home. 

By the treaty of 1824, the Dutch gave up Malacca, which had 
become useless to them, and the English bound themselves not to 
make settlements on any of the islands to the south of it. This 
was certainly a very unwise covenant on the part of Great Britain, 
and showed great want of knowledge respecting the resources and 
geographical position of the various islands. 

This false step has been prejudicial to the interests of Great Bri- 
tain, and has entailed upon the fine islands of Borneo, Celebes, 
Banca, &c, the benighted policy that has so long been pursued by 
Holland. Banca, from which England has thus excluded herself, by 
all accounts is said to possess the best tin mines in the world. In 
this treaty of March, 1824, signed at London, it was mutually agreed 
that piracy should be extirpated from the Eastern seas; but the 
practice has probably existed to full as great if not greater extent 
in the few years that have since elapsed, as at any previous epoch. 

It cannot but appear evident that the political relations with Hol- 
land, which have existed, and still continue to exist, in these islands, 
have had little effect in improving the state of civilization ; for although 
that nation has been in possession of power for nearly two hundred 
years, yet the natives of the several islands are not found to be more 
advanced in the arts or sciences, nor their comforts or conveniences 
of life in any degree improved by its influence, although thousands 
of Europeans have grown rich upon their labours. This is no doubt 
one of the usual effects of a monopoly ; and these islands, which are 
blessed with all the abundance of God's providence, have by the 
grasping hand of avarice been impoverished, and made the seat of 
bloodshed and want. Slavery is as prevalent, and as openly counte- 
nanced, as on their being first taken possession of. It would be diffi- 
cult for any one to point out what good the policy of Europe in the 
East, has brought upon the islanders, in return for the riches that 
have been derived from them. 


It might be expected that English law and English justice would 
exist at a place where the authority of Great Britain avowedly exists, 
and over which its flag waves ; but this is not the case in Singapore. 
No rights of property in the soil are acknowledged ; no security and 
no redress are to be had against the will of the public officer. He 
may tear down a resident's house, and there is no preventive for 
the wrong. Instances have occurred where the very soil has been 
dug off a garden by his order, and against the wishes and consent 
of the owner, because it so pleased the dignitary to will that it 
should be level with the street, which had been graded a foot or two 
below the level. On expostulation and incmiry, no redress would be 
given, or damages allowed. Fortunately, neither the land nor build- 
ing is of great value, for a hundred dollars in Singapore would go as 
far in the construction of a building as a thousand with us. 

Of the society we saw but little ; what we did see appeared to be 
sociable and agreeable, but is necessarily small, being confined to but 
sixty or seventy individuals. 

The island of Singapore is composed of red clay, sandstone, and 
in some places granite. The locality of the town appears to have 
been a salt-marsh, with a narrow strip of rocks and sand near the 
beach. In consequence of its rapid increase, they are beginning now 
to fill up the low ground with the surplus earth taken from the sur- 
rounding hills. 

The highest point of Singapore is called Buhit Tima, and does not 
exceed, it is said, five hundred feet in elevation. Although this 
height is but seven miles distant from the town, I was told it has 
never yet been visited by a European, and seldom by natives, on 
account of the obstructed nature of the intervening country. There 
are a few small fishing or piratical establishments (the two names are 
synonymous here, for when the people are not engaged in the one, 
they are in the other,) on the north and west end of the island. 
The length of the island is twenty-seven miles, and its greater 
breadth is fifteen. It is divided from the peninsula by the old strait 
of Singapore, so long followed by navigators, for reasons it is now 
difficult to surmise, when the short, wide, and safe channel was open 
to them, which is now altogether used. 

The botany of Singapore is far from being thoroughly known, 
notwithstanding so many scientific expeditions have visited it; nor 
is it likely to become so very soon, infested as the woods are with 
tigers. It is remarkable that before the island was inhabited, tigers 

VOL. v. 101 


did not exist in it, although there were great numbers of them in the 
peninsula opposite ; and it is said that they have only made their 
appearance here within the last six or seven years. Indeed, one of 
the reasons assigned for its selection, was the absence of this fero- 
cious animal, and of the wild elephant. It is to be presumed, there- 
fore, that the tigers come in search of food, by swimming over the 
narrow straits. Some fifty persons have been killed by them within 
the last two years, within two miles of the centre of the town, and 
two hundred in all are reported as having become victims to these 
beasts. Criminals and thieves were formerly in the habit of escaping 
to the woods or jungle, but of late years this has not been attempted 
bv them. 

The government, in consequence of the attacks of tigers becoming 
so frequent, and of the jungle being so much infested by them, offered 
a premium of one hundred dollars for every tiger's head that should 
be brought in. This induced large parties to hunt them ; but, since 
the government have reduced the reward to fifty dollars, this daring 
business has not been followed ; not, however, from any scarcity of 
the animals, for they now frequently seize men working in the imme- 
diate vicinity, but because the sum is too small to be an equivalent for 
the risk and trouble. From a stuffed specimen we saw at Singapore, 
it would appear that these animals do not differ from those of Bengal. 

While walking with Mr. Balestier around his plantation, he pointed 
out to us the spot where two of his men had been killed by tigers, 
and he said it was no uncommon thing, when he first began his 
plantation, to see the tracks of tigers about his house in the morning. 
Since the jungle has been cut away to a greater distance, this occur- 
rence is not so frequent. Tigers have been known to attack persons 
in the daytime, but they seldom frequent the highroad. It is consi- 
dered too dangerous for an individual to venture near the jungle. 

Some accounts speak of vestiges of the primitive inhabitants of 
Singapore, consisting of mounds, temples, &c, but I could not get 
at any well-authenticated account of them. Some, indeed, suppose 
that the island of Singapore may contain many remains of a former 
race, but there seems to be little or no foundation at present for such 
an opinion. 

Although it was impossible from the number of tigers for our gen- 
tlemen to frequent the woods to any great extent, yet many very 
interesting plants were procured here. Through the kindness of Mr. 
Balestier, Captain Scott, (the captain of the port,) and others, Mr. 


Brackenridge obtained many live plants, which we succeeded in 
bringing safely to the United States. 

The soil of the island is a stiff yellow loam, in which the nutmeg, 
coffee, black pepper, chocolate, and gamboge (Garcinia), grow to a 
great extent. The three first appear to be particularly well adapted 
to the climate and soil. As I have before mentioned, the cultivation 
of sugar is attended with success. Captain Scott is planting the 
durian, which, independently of its fruit, yields a timber highly 
valued for ship-building. This gentleman has left numerous forest 
trees standing on his plantation, many of which are of large dimen- 
sions, being full one hundred feet in height. These consisted chiefly 
of species of Quercus, Myrtacese, Melastomacea?, and Rubiaceee. The 
undergrowth is almost impenetrable, on account of the vast number 
of creeping plants which intertwine and clasp around the trees. Two 
species of Nepenthe (pitcher-plants) were found in the swamp, which 
were preserved and brought to the United States. The Botanical 
Report will embrace many more varieties, and to this I must refer the 
reader for further information. 

Fruit seemed to be very abundant, and it is said that there are 
one hundred and twenty kinds that can be served as a dessert : among 
these are pine-apples, mangosteens, melons, bananas, oranges, &c. 
The pine-apples are remarkably fine, and not in the least acid ; in 
proof of which, they do not turn the knife black in cutting them, 
and to eat them is considered wholesome at all hours. The season 
for this fruit was just coming in at the time of our arrival, and large 
boat-loads were seen lying at the quay. They are usually planted 
along the roadside, and though, when small, rather stiff-looking, yet 
when full-grown and in bearing, they are a pretty object. Of all 
the plants we saw, the nutmeg requires and receives the greatest 
care. The trees are planted in orchards, and while young have a 
sort of arbour erected over them, to protect them from the vertical 
rays of the sun. 

The gambeer (Nauclea) also claims much of the attention of the 
cultivator : it is a low-sized tree or bush, of no beauty. Its bark is 
used for tanning, and it is said to be the most powerful astringent 
known for this purpose. It is to be seen in the shops in the form of a 
powder, of a reddish brown colour. We did not learn how this was 
prepared, or how it was used : it appears, however, to be in great 
demand. It is occasionally used by the Chinese, with their betel-nut, 
of which there is a great consumption here, although it is not sold in 


the streets, as at Manilla ; but quantities of the nuts are seen for sale 
in the market. From the leaves also a powerful astringent is obtained 
by boiling. 

The gamboge tree is also cultivated here, but more extensively on 
the shores of the straits than at Singapore, and is a very considerable 
article of trade. 

The ride outside of the town to the hills is pleasant, passing 
through plantations loaded with fruit, and the air at an early hour of 
the morning is filled with a spicy fragrance. The vivid green of the 
woods and grass is also remarkable, and continues throughout the 
whole year, for scarcely a day passes but a refreshing shower falls. 
The roads are thus kept free from dust, and at all times in good order. 
The usual mode of conveyance is in a palanquin, which is capable of 
containing two persons. The cooley, or Hindoo who attends his 
horse, usually runs by the side of the palanquin, and seldom tires. 
The charge for one of these conveyances is a dollar, whether for a 
whole or a part of a day, and a douceur is paid to the cooley according 
to the time he has been employed. The palanquin is a very conve- 
nient vehicle, and its use is absolutely necessary during the heat of 
the day to shield the stranger from the burning rays of the sun. 
These cooleys will run all day through it without any inconvenience. 
They are principally from the neighbourhood of Madras, and are 
generally about the middle size, thin and muscular. 

I have mentioned that on our arrival, the whole of this motley 
population seemed engaged in a festival. With the Chinese it was 
that of the New Year, and with the Hindoo Mussulman the feast 
called " Marama," or the search for and finding of the grandchildren 
of Mohamed. The Chinese, on such occasions, give themselves up 
entirely to gambling; and the first day and night I was on shore, 
this part of the town might be considered as a vast gambling-shop. 
During this holiday they are allowed to gamble as much as they 
please, but what restriction is put upon the open indulgence of 
gaming at other times, I did not learn, but from appearances I should 
suppose it was not very severe. 

The extent to which gaming was carried by the Chinese, could 
not fail to astonish any one who had not been brought up to it. It 
was extraordinary to see all engaged in such an exciting vice ; and to 
watch the different individuals was amusing. Gaming was going on 
in every shop, and frequently in each particular corner, under the 
colonnades, in the bazaars, and at the corner of almost every street a 


variety of games were playing. Of several of these I had no know- 
ledge ; some were performed with cards, and others with dice. The 
stake seemed generally to be in small copper coin, called pice, about 
five hundred to the dollar, each of which is valued at three cowries ; 
but although this was the usual betting coin, the stake was sometimes 
silver, and at times to a considerable amount. Those who have not 
seen the Chinese play, have never witnessed the spirit of gam- 
bling at its height ; their whole soul is staked with their money, 
however small it may be in amount, and they appeared to me to go 
as earnestly to work as if it had been for the safety of their lives 
and fortunes. 

Almost every one has formed to himself an idea of a Chinese, but 
to be well known he requires to be seen on his own soil, or where he 
is in intercourse with his countrymen. The different individuals of 
this race seemed to us to have a strong resemblance to each other, 
and although this may in part be owing to similarity of dress, it is 
also due to their bodily conformation. The flat chest, in particular, 
is peculiar, at least to the labouring class. All of them seem active 
and attentive to their business, of whatever kind it may be, and as 
far as outward expression and action go, as harmless as lambs. It 
is somewhat remarkable, that the very sign which was put upon 
them by their Tartar conquerors to mark them as a subdued race, 
should now have become their national boast ; for nothing seems to 
claim a Chinaman's attention so much as his long queue, and the 
longer and blacker it is the more it appears to claim his admiration. 
We frequently saw it touching the very heels, and tied at the end 
neatly with a bit of riband. On great occasions this hangs down to 
its full length; but at other times, being somewhat in the way, it is 
wound up on the back of the head. I have heard it asserted, that the 
Chinese never become bald or gray ; but this opinion seemed to be 
erroneous, from what I saw in this small community. 

The Chinese is at all times to be found industriously employed, 
except when gambling ; and were it not for this latter propensity, and 
his desire of cheating foreigners, has probably as few vices as exist in 
any other race. Wherever he is found, peace and quietness seem to 
dwell ; he moves, and has been moving for ages in the same path, 
and prefers all his own ways to those of the rest of the world. We 
saw the Chinese in some pleasing lights, and were much struck, on 
these festival occasions, by their attention towards their children, 

VOL. v. 102 


and the fondness and invariable kindness with which they were 

Besides their seasons of festivity, it appeared that their devotion at 
their temples, or josh-houses, claimed some of their time; and we had 
an opportunity of visiting the interior of one of these. The opposite 
plate, from a drawing made by Mr. Agate, will give a good idea of its 
exterior ; but to give it full effect, it wants the accompaniment of the 
moving throng, and the peculiar feelings that one experiences when 
surrounded with the motley groups of the East. This temple is built 
near the water, of granite, brought from China, and is a conspicuous 
object in the landscape. The columns in front are curiously sculp- 
tured. The interior combines both the ludicrous and hideous. Its 
interior may be said to consist of a central building, in which the 
principal idols are : this is surrounded by a neatly-paved passage, 
which is uncovered ; in the centre are seats appropriated to the wor- 
shippers. The inner temple was called by our cicerone, who was 
apparently on guard, the great temple. It is occupied by three 
colossal carved wooden idols, representations of the human form, 
about ten feet high, and in a sitting posture. One of these, that had 
a long black beard and mustaches, was richly clothed, and painted 
red, with much tinsel and gilding round the head. This idol was 
named " Rajerman." In front of him was a female figure, of smaller 
size, richly dressed, who received from our cicerone the name of 
" Beebee." The two other figures were equal in size to the first, and 
as contemptible in carving. Indeed there is not a ship-carver in our 
country, who would not execute a better piece of statuary. In front 
of the figures was an altar-table, on which was a smaller one, and on 
the latter there were coloured wax candles and josh-sticks burning. 
Some of these were made of tightly-rolled gilt paper, that had been 
lighted by the worshippers who had been there before us; some 
flowers were also seen on the altar-tables. At the side of each of 
these altars were placed figures of frightful and hideous-looking mon- 
sters, with black faces, misshapen bodies and legs, and mouths from 
ear to ear, filled with enormous teeth. One hand was armed with a 
battle-axe, and the other pointed to the table. These our cicerone 
called " Fellow Seegurmain." There were several of the same kind 
of figures, though of much smaller size, hideous enough to put one 
out of all conceit even with what was well carved-; for the Chinese 
excel in depicting dragons and reptiles, which are occasionally, if not 


well grouped, amusingly so, with both men and animals. I was 
surprised to observe how little respect was paid to the place, which 
was every where accessible, and with the laughing and talking of 
those present, and the noise of workmen : it had the air of any thing 
but a sacred enclosure. The part that was uncovered, was orna- 
mented with flowers in pots, consisting of camelias, tuberoses, &c. 
There were also several old stumps, of the purpose of which I could 
get no explanation, nor learn why they should be considered so sacred 
as to be admitted into the temple. Notwithstanding these incongrui- 
ties, the whole had a striking and singular effect, and I may add, not 
an unpleasing one. 

Before ceasing to speak of the Chinese, I shall give a brief descrip- 
tion of their mode of celebrating- the New Year, although it was 
difficult to follow it, and still more so to understand its full meaning. 
The ceremonies consisted chiefly of processions, both by night and 
day, in which the whole Chinese population seemed to be engaged. 
The grand one bore a sort of silken temple, which was carried on the 
shoulders of several men, with banners before and behind it, having 
Chinese characters on them, and of the most gaudy colours. These 
were preceded by music, if such it could be called, consisting of 
cymbals and gongs, on which every performer strove to strike with 
his utmost force, and, if possible, oftener than his neighbour. Noise 
they at least created in perfection. This procession was occasionally 
joined by smaller ones, and the whole seemed to afford both to the 
crowd and actors as much amusement as it did to us, to whom it 
was altogether new. During the night, and particularly on that 
of the 21st of February, the last day of their year, the illuminated 
processions were curious, as well as amusing, and were exceedingly 
numerous. Some of them were to be seen in every street at the 
same time, and no sooner had one passed than others were seen to 
follow, all hurrying along as if there were some goal to be reached. 
The illumination proceeded from lanterns of all colours, sizes, and 
shapes. We saw also the procession of juvenile horsemen, con- 
sisting altogether of children. Each of them bore the fore and 
hind parts of a horse in such a manner that the child represented 
the rider. These mimic portions of the quadruped were made of 
paper, and illuminated. The effect was that of a miniature regiment 
of cavalry. Others were represented as if on the backs of fish, that 
seemed to swim along in the crowd. Some of the children were not 
more than two years of age, and the oldest not more than five or six. 


They were all fantastically dressed, and some among them in Euro- 
pean costume, which had a grotesque effect among the more appro- 
priate dresses of the East. They were led about, preceded by music, 
such as it was, of gongs and cymbals; and all passed by on a dog- 
trot. Towards the close of the evening, some of the children had 
attendants on each side, who carried the poor little fatigued creatures 
along, many of whom were nearly, if not quite asleep. Whenever 
this procession halted, the Chinese would load them with cakes and 
dulces, and showed a kindness and attention truly pleasing. The 
most extraordinary exhibition of the evening was an immense illumi- 
nated sea-serpent, which we all thought fully equalled, in size and 
movement, the famous New England one, and agreed in other respects 
tolerably well with its description, for he had at intervals large bumps 
of the shape of a small cask. These were in fact lanterns, supported 
by poles, and connected together by white cotton or gauze, which was 
here and there coloured. The head of the monster was of large 
dimensions, with a wide extended mouth, showing its fiery tongue 
and rows of sharp teeth. The movements of the serpent were well 
managed, and its gyrations, twistings, and windings over the people's 
heads, gave it a formidable look. It appeared as if in search of an 
illuminated globe, representing the old year, as the serpent is supposed 
to typify the new one. It was, from time to time, permitted almost to 
seize the globe, which was then hurried away, upon which the pon- 
derous jaws would come together with a crash, and then the serpent 
would hurry onward again in hot pursuit. I was told that, it swal- 
lowed the globe at the expiration of the year, but I did not speak to 
any one who saw the finale. The figure of this serpent was from 
eighty to one hundred feet in length, and two feet in diameter. 

During this closing scene of the festival, all the Chinese houses 
were open, and the josh-houses and idols illuminated with wax 
candles, and decked with flowers and tinsel. 

Theatrical exhibitions were at the same time going forward in 
many places; open sheds are erected for this purpose, where the ex- 
hibition was entirely gratuitous. The actors, I was told, are paid by 
a general subscription, which also provides for the other expenses of 
the spectacle. These sheds are closed on three sides, but open on 
that which faces the street. The stage is raised about six feet 
above the street ; the whole is richly decorated with silk hangings, 
and banners with many inscriptions, and illuminated with coloured 
lamps. The stage, which was by no means of large size, was occu- 


pied by a table and two chairs. The dialogue was in a kind of 
recitative, with an accompaniment performed by beating with two 
small sticks on the bottom of a copper kettle of the shape of a coffee- 
pot. The person who performed this duty appeared to direct all the 
spectacle, as prompter and leader of the orchestra. The other 
musical instruments were the gong, cymbals, and a kind of hautboy, 
the holes of which are not arranged with any view to produce harmo- 
nious sounds. The dresses of the actors were very rich, and the 
females were represented by young men or boys. The male charac- 
ters were for the most part masked, but not the female ; the former 
generally had long black and white beards. The principal part of 
the performance seemed to consist in attitudinizing, and appeared 
to interest the audience, as it did us, although according to our ideas, 
it was not suited to the words or sentiment : for instance, during a 
pathetic part, whilst the actor was shedding tears, he would suddenly 
throw up one leg, and almost kick himself on the nose ! The acting, 
upon the whole, was, to our notions, in a mock-heroic style ; but this 
might have arisen from our not being able to comprehend the mean- 
ing, for the other spectators seemed greatly interested. There was 
something, however, which there was no difficulty in our under- 
standing, and this was the fighting. The two combatants draw their 
swords or handle their spears, and begin turning round poking at 
each other without closing, when suddenly one runs off; the other, 
after having evidently informed the audience that he is the victor, 
then makes his exit, accompanied with a most tremendous noise from 
both the music and audience. After the performance had closed, it 
was with difficulty that I could determine whether it had been 
comedy or tragedy : whichever it was, it was mingled with still vault- 
ing somersets, cart-wheel motions, and casting themselves about, 
indifferent as to what part they fell on, in modes which I may truly 
say I had never seen surpassed, either in muscular action or agility. 

Several small processions were seen passing through the streets, 
consisting of about fifteen persons, all of whom carried banners, 
with inscriptions in golden characters, and were preceded by the 
usual music. I was told that they were celebrating a marriage ; 
but although I followed for the purpose of observing them, and made 
many inquiries, I could not ascertain any thing about the manner of 
conducting the ceremonies. It seemed to be a kind of walking 
advertisement; and when they passed any Chinese house of conse- 
quence, they made a five-fold racket. 

VOL. v. 103 


The Chinese funerals may be occasionally seen. They are seldom 
attended by more than the six bearers, and the music, which con- 
sists of a tambourine, gong, and triangle. The coffin is generally 
made of some hard wood with scrolls at each end, and appears pon- 
derous. It is carried along at a very rapid pace, and the mode of 
evincing respect for the dead differs strangely from ours. 

The Hindoo Mahomedans appear to be as fond of theatrical shows 
and processions as the Chinese ; and as the day of our landing was 
also a holiday with them, we had the advantage of witnessing these 
ceremonies. The subject of commemoration was the Marama, or 
funeral obsequies of Hassoun arid Houssien. The observance of this 
forms a prominent distinction between the Shiites and the Sonnites 
sect of the Mahomedan belief. The former consider the caliphs 
who succeeded to the power of Mahomet as usurpers of the rights 
of Ali, and bewail annually the death of his children, slain by the 
emissaries of the illegal occupant of the pulpit of the Imauns. The 
legend alleges that the children of Ali were hidden in a well, and con- 
cealed from the pursuit of their enemies by a spider, who spun his 
web over its mouth. Seeing this, the bloodthirsty pursuers had 
passed the well several times without suspecting that it contained 
the objects of their search. At last, however, a lizard was heard to 
chuck within it, by which it was known that some one lay there con- 
cealed : the hiding-place was thus discovered, and Hassoun and Hous- 
sien taken out and slain. 

In the procession which we saw, nearly all this sect of Maho- 
medans in Singapore must have joined. A temple, some twenty- 
five feet high, was carried about by thirty or forty Malays hired for 
the occasion. In front of all came the guards and swordsmen, fan- 
tastically dressed, who cleared the way. 

The bold and expert manner in which these handled their weapons 
was somewhat startling to the crowd and the lookers-on. I must con- 
fess that I momentarily expected to see a head hewn in two, or an arm 
severed from the body. These were about a dozen in number ; and 
when they had cleared the way, they practised sham-fights among 
themselves, which from their expertness and grace had a fine effect. 
They were followed by dancers, boys in female attire, gaudily dressed. 
Next came some of the branded criminals, who were convicts, and 
then the temple, with its vast piles of tinsel ornaments of paper, borne 
on men's shoulders, who were concealed from view by the draperies ; 
then came the music, consisting of small drums, instruments some- 


what resembling clarionets, and quantities of small bells, accompanied 
with a monotonous chaunt, and long trains of followers, with banners, 
afterwards. This procession was very differently conducted from 
those of the Chinese, for there seemed a disposition to be rude 
and overbearing to the crowd. Some noble-looking' men, dressed 
in red and white, with turbans* on their heads, had a very distin- 
guished look, particularly the Bugis from the isle of Borneo, a 
number of whom were pointed out to me, who might be known by 
their stature. The temple, after having been paraded both by night 
and day, was thrown into the sea about four o'clock, and entirely 
destroyed. For this singular termination I could find no explanation, 
except that what had been consecrated to the Prophet was not to be 
defiled by the hands of men. 

In various shanties near the sea-shore, theatrical performances were 
going forward, but with little spirit, for all seemed worn out with the 
night and day's exertions. They were very polite and attentive to us, 
getting us seats, &c. ; but, after sitting some time, we saw this was 
but a sorry exhibition compared with that we had seen enacted by 
the Chinese; the music consisted of small drums and triangles, mixed 
occasionally with a whistle, shrill enough to deafen, which was made 
by putting the fingers in the mouth. 

I was very much struck with the order and good behaviour ex- 
isting among such an incongruous mass of human beings as we saw 
collected together, speaking a vast variety of tongues, and some who 
would infallibly have been at war with each other elsewhere. Al- 
though there was much noise, and various games going on, yet I 
did not learn that a single quarrel had taken place. f I understood 
that the rarity of quarrels between the different races and religions 
is more owing to the consideration of the place being neutral ground, 
where all ought to abstain from hostility, than to any effect produced 
by the police. 

The Hindoos of the Gentoo faith, also, have various amusements, 
among which are vertical revolving swings, with four boxes or seats, 

* There was one man with a green turban, which is the exclusive privilege of those 
in the direct line of descent from the Prophet. 

f Rows, however, do sometimes occur on such occasions, and one took place in 1840, 
in which one life was lost, and several other persons were badly wounded. It arose as 
the Hindoo Mahomedans were passing in procession near the Chinese temples, when, 
being interrupted in their march, they began to throw stones at the temple, and finally 
resort was had to fire-arms ; but the affray was soon quelled by the police. 


in which the occupants maintain a horizontal position. These are 
seen among us; but it is in the East that the fashion has originated. 
The machine was awkwardly made, and with its creaking added not 
a little to the general din. 

Mr. Balestier was kind enough to have an exhibition for us on his 
plantation, by his people, who are Klings, from the neighbourhood of 
Madras. There are one hundred and fifty of them in his employ, 
and for the purpose of indulging their fondness for theatrical exhibi- 
tions, they have subscribed largely, and procured very costly and rich 
dresses for their representations during the holidays. 

On the appointed evening we repaired to the plantation, where two 
large fires were made on the lawn, to throw light on the perform- 
ances. The night was dark ; and after the arrival of the company, a 
large white cloth was hung up between two stakes, sufficiently high 
to conceal the performers. After a long delay the curtain was raised, 
and the performance began. The actors were brilliantly dressed, a 
cap resembling very nearly the ibis, figured among the Egyptian 
anticunties, was worn, and many massive ear-ornaments; these dresses 
showed brilliantly by the light of the fire, which also brought out in 
relief the surrounding shrubs and trees from the dark and indistinct 
background, producing a pretty effect. The performance was a kind 
of opera. The music consisted of a drum, cymbals, and castanets, 
which accompanied the monotonous recitative. The plot was ex- 
plained to me by Mrs. Balestier : the subject was " the results of 
misplaced friendship." 

A rich, hospitable rajah, entertains a guest, who is desirous of 
obtaining his only daughter in marriage, and thus securing to himself 
the riches of his host. His suit is not favourably received, upon 
which he enters into a plot to ruin and debase the rajah and his 
family. For this purpose, after insinuating himself into the rajah's 
confidence, he betrays him, and makes false accusations to a Brahmin 
against him. The Brahmin at once proceeds to force the rajah to 
confession, tortures his daughter and domestics, and obtaining in this 
manner what he believes a confirmation of the accusation, strips him 
of his wealth and power, to confer them upon the false-hearted 
accuser. At this point of the plot, on account of the hour, eleven 
o'clock, we were obliged to stop the performances, but we understood 
that if they had been allowed to go on, the opera would have con- 
tinued for three days and three nights. However much the story 
may be prolonged, the plot generally closes with the triumph of the 


good, and affords some instructive moral. There were many accom- 
paniments to this performance, such as the mode of applying the 
tortures by a Brahmin, and the performances of a clown, wh